Southern China has witnessed yet another protest by residents in opposition to government policy.
According to reports, thousands of people in Haimen township in Guangdong province have faced off against riot police amidst demands that a coal-fired plant not be constructed in the area, citing that the region already has a high incidence of cancer stemming from other industrial facilities.
Agence France Presse (AFP) reported that police beat demonstrators and used tear-gas against them. Witnesses told AFOP more than 100 protesters were beaten by the police.
They are still firing tear gas right now, lots of people are crying and they are on the ground, a demonstrator told AFP.
If they continue, we will come out tomorrow and keep protesting. They are starting to beat people now.”
AFP also reported that as many as 10,000 local villagers blocked a highway after government officials refused to meet with them over their demands.
We are protesting because we want the power plant to move away. Lots of local people have illnesses such as cancer, a local resident said.
BBC reported that two student protesters have died in the clashes with authorities, although local police deny any fatalities have occurred – in fact, they contend that several of their officers were hurt in scuffles with demonstrators.
Another protester told BBC that fishermen have joined in the protests, contending that pollution from an existing power plant is ruining the local fisheries and their livelihoods.
The Haimen confrontation comes on the heels of a bitter land dispute in the town of Wukan about 70 miles to the south.