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Protest turns violent in China's Guizhou Province

2013/05/05 20:34:49

The location marked on the map is Sansui County, Guizhou. (From Google Maps)

Taipei, May 5 (CNA) A protest Friday against land expropriation by the authorities in Sansui County, in China's Guizhou Province, turned violent, with police attacked and five police cars destroyed, according to a statement from the county government.

The statement said the authorities urgently mobilized over 200 police and security officers to bring the situation under control after around 100 angry protesters attacked workers and police assigned to carry out the land expropriation.

Photos circulating on Chinese websites showed several police cars overturned and destroyed, with reports saying that police fired tear gas and arrested several protesters.

The statement said that the protesters blocked the road leading to the scene with coffins and hurled abusive language at the police and workers while attacking them.

However, the county government did not say whether there were any injuries or any protesters were arrested.

The Sansui Prosecutor's Office and a local court jointly issued a demand that the participants turn themselves in before May 11 or face severe punishment.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang have listed the urbanization of rural areas "to take better care of farmers" as one of their policy priorities, and the Sansui land expropriation was interpreted by county officials as a project under this umbrella.

However, the Sansui residents were quoted in online reports as saying that the violent protests only broke out after those who had their land expropriated discovered that it was to be used to build commercial properties or apartments for sale.

Guizhou, in southwestern China, has a population of around 35 million people, 38 percent of whom belong to ethnic minorities.

(By Rita Cheng and Bear Lee)