Police cars block off the roads leading into Tiananmen Square as smoke rises into the air after a vehicle crashed in front of Tiananmen Gate in Beijing on October 28, 2013. Three people were killed when an SUV vehicle crashed into a crowd in Beijing's Tiananmen Square and burst into flames, state media said, as pictures showed a tower of smoke rising before the Forbidden City. STR/AFP/Getty Images
BEIJING -- State media says a sports-utility vehicle veered through a crowd and crashed into a stone bridge in front of the Forbidden City in central Beijing before catching fire.
Three people in the car were killed.
The official Xinhua News Agency said several tourists and policemen also were injured in the accident in front the iconic Tiananmen Gate around noon on Monday.
The gate is one of the southern entrances to the former imperial palace and stands at the top of sprawling Tiananmen Square. The area around the square is one of China's most closely guarded and politically sensitive public venues. Many of China's leaders live and work nearby.
Photos from the scene posted to the Internet showed flames and thick smoke spewing from the vehicle.