Hubei Province, China – Locals took matters into their own hands in Hubei Province last week when they broke into and decimated a battery factory responsible for polluting the nearby area.
Thousands of students and teachers from Songhe town Second Middle School in Jianshan county, Hubei province surrounded the factory in anger due to local governments' lack of response to the situation.
According to Xingdao Daily, at around 9am on September 29th, over a thousands students and nearly one hundred teachers gathered in front of the factory in protest. After some students became aggressive, they broke into the factory, smashed windows, computers and manufacturing equipment.
In response, local authorities dispatched the police to deal with the situation who organized police cars to form a barrier. More than a hundred anti-riot police were then dispatched to drive away the students with batons.
Several students received injuries and three villagers, one male and two female, were forcefully lifted away from the scene. As of the 29th, the three arrested villagers had not been released.
One local resident stated that the clash turned out to be so big that those in neighbouring areas were also aware of it.
On the night of September 29th, large numbers of villagers from two neighbouring villages surrounded the factory. After breaking the factory door, they blocked the entrance with a boulder and arranged for people to be stationed outside the factory at all times to force the factory to cease production.
During production hours, the factory burns bran and generates heavy smoke. Residents have expressed concern at this as the local school cannot operate normally due to the factory's fumes.
One teacher that participated in the siege said that the factory emitted poisonous gases daily and as a result the area was covered with a black dust. During class time, he said that his mouth became dry, his skin itched and he became breathless after saying just a few words. He also said that many teachers and students were suffering from respiratory tract diseases. Complaints and appeals, even those to major newspapers, have received no response. According to the local police, officials had previously arranged for a meeting between factory leaders, villagers, teachers and students in an effort to resolve the issue. The discussion failed to lead to a solution and another round of talks had been arranged
One students commented that no overseas country would now produce such things. Instead, they moved their operations to China. He also commented that in China, these factories cannot even be set up in major cities or second grade cities. So, they are sent to smaller towns to pollute their village.