Retired soldiers from China’s 1979 war against Vietnam have launched a protest in Yangjiang, Guangdong, accusing the local government of embezzling their stipends.

Pictures and videos posted on China’s microblogging site Weibo showed hundreds of people gathering in the streets in Jiangcheng District, Yangjiang. Many of the protesters wore dark green military Mao-era uniforms.

YouTube video

Protesters attempted to charge what appeared to be a government office but were blocked by police and security personnel, according to a video posted on Weibo. Some were badly injured, pictures showed.

Protesters injured. Photo: weibo

According to one Weibo user who posted the video, the protest happened on Wednesday. The soldiers said they were supposed to get RMB2,000 (HK$2,424) a month in allowance from the central government, but local officials took RMB1,500 (HK$1,818) out of it for themselves, leaving the soldiers with only RMB500 (HK$606) a month.

The Weibo user said war veterans from other parts of Guangdong were on their way to support Yangjiang protesters.

War veterans rally outside a government building. Photo: weibo

Nine roads in the city have been shut down, announced the Yangjiang government on Friday. The government did not offer a reason for the closures.

An investigation by HKFP showed the closed roads were where the protests took place.

Protesters stand outside a government building. Photo: weibo

Angry residents blasted the local media for staying silent. One Weibo user commented under a post by a local radio station about road closures: “Can you report on old soldiers’ protest?” Another said she saw police blocking reporters from a Guangzhou TV station on a highway in Yangjiang. “The government is doing everything it can to stop journalists,” she wrote.

The protest came ahead of a grand military parade scheduled to take place in Beijing on September 3 to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the allied victory in World War Two.

Vivienne Zeng is a journalist from China with three years' experience covering Hong Kong and mainland affairs. She has an MA in journalism from the University of Hong Kong. Her work has been featured on outlets such as Al Jazeera+ and MSNBC.