The Qianmen area is in the process of being redeveloped from a rundown neighbourhood of traditional homes, known as hutongs, into a new commercial and shopping district.
 
Al Jazeera correspondent Dan Nolan, who was at the scene, said several dozen residents were trying to speak to the media, but were shouted down by others who were either local government officials or plainclothes police officers.
 
At least four were taken away after they tried to vent their complaints to Al Jazeera’s crew, he said.
 
Some 20,000 journalists are descending on Beijing to cover the Olympic games, presenting a huge challenge to the Chinese authorities who are more used to keeping a tight rein on the media.
 
The Olympics, which opens officially on Friday, is seen as a showcase event by the Chinese government which is eager to see the games show the best possible image to the rest of the world.
 
Hundreds of thousands of security personnel and volunteer "citizen police" have been deployed across Beijing to watch for signs of unrest.