Thousands have joined protests over the construction of a waste processing plant in a residential area of Wuhan, central China.

Local residents have been protesting since Sunday in the Panlongcheng Economic Development Zone. On Wednesday night, protesters marched along Julong Avenue – the rally continued until midnight, blocking traffic. Several citizens were knocked to the ground by police and multiple arrests were made, Apple Daily reported.

wuhan protest
Protesters in Panlongcheng. Photo: Weibo.

Videos and pictures on social media showed protesters surrounding police vans, chanting  “let them go”. One picture showed a police van toppled on its side.

YouTube video

A property owner, surnamed Fang, told the US-based Radio Free Asia on Wednesday that the proposed waste processing plant would be 100 metres from the nearest school, and 400 metres from several densely-populated districts. She said that citizens were worried that the garbage residue would contaminate the lake water and threaten the safety of their drinking water.

“There [have been] people here protesting morning, noon and night, all generations of residents from our residential district,” Fang said.

wuhan protest
Protesters in Wuhan continue the demonstration at night. Photo: Weibo.

The report quoted an official at the Panlongcheng Development Zone as saying that the urban management office and other departments “issued a directive saying that the project will be temporarily halted.”

However, the official refused to respond to whether the construction would resume in the future.

Panlongcheng construction site
View of the residential district from the site of waste processing plant. Photo:

A local housing agent said that there were many newly-built properties in the area, and many people spent their life savings and got loans from banks to settle down. The construction of the waste processing plant would bring environmental pollution and cause a drop in housing prices, the New York-based television broadcaster New Tang Dynasty TV reported.

China is no stranger to protests over environmental constructions. Earlier this month, large-scale clashes took place in Shantou, Guangdong province over the building of waste incinerator.

koel chu

Koel Chu

Koel Chu is a second-year journalism and fine arts student at the University of Hong Kong. Born and raised in Hong Kong, Koel is interested in the arts and urban design. She interned at China Radio International in Beijing and, at her university, she also works as Vice-President of Branding and Marketing in AIESEC, the largest youth-run organisation in the world.