Police fired tear gas during large-scale clashes between villagers and riot police in Shantou, Guangdong province over the construction of a waste incinerator on Saturday.
Over 1,000 police were dispatched after a mass protest began in the city of Shantou, in the east of Guangdong. Some police vehicles were burned by protesters, dozens of whom were arrested, Cable News reported.
On Saturday residents of the city’s Chaoyang district heard a police warning that they were about to enter their village. In response, many villagers gathered and blocked the road using gas cylinders.
The following day, police advanced into the village, which became the scene of violent clashes as demonstrators smashed police vehicles and threw rocks and stones at riot police, a local resident told the US-backed Radio Free Asia.
The villagers had been striking for two weeks and students had also been boycotting classes for a week in an attempt to prevent construction of the incinerator from going ahead. Many villagers were reportedly arrested for protesting and disseminating information online.
An official from the Jinzao township government offices said on Monday that all was now quiet in the area, Radio Free Asia reported. “The situation has calmed down now; it’s all quiet,” said the official.
Guangdong is no stranger to clashes over environmental issues. According to the Chinese language newspaper Sing Tao, similar protests were initiated by eleven other villages in Shantou’s Chaoyang district in 2013.
In 2014, authorities in Puzhai township cancelled plans to build an incinerator after protests and violent clashes between protesters and police.
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