Over 50 people were injured in a five-day-long standoff between police and thousands of protesters over land confiscation in China’s Yunnan Province. A thousand armed police in military vehicles were dispatched and local officials cut off the Internet connection of the entire town.
Residents of Suijiang County, Yunnan Province, who were forced to leave their homes because of the construction of the Xiangjiaba hydraulic power station, were upset over meager resettlement compensation.
In the afternoon of March 25, several hundred evacuees went to the Suijiang County government building to petition their grievances. When they were given no satisfactory response by officials, the petitioners unfurled banners in the streets saying: “All Migrants Demand a One-Time Cash Settlement,” and “The Government Took Our Money, We Have Nothing to Eat.”
More people joined in, and soon there was a crowd of thousands blocking major roadways and causing traffic congestion, according to eyewitnesses.
“There were several thousand people blocking the roadways. The traffic was stopped for five days. Protesters held banners saying ‘down with the corrupt government’,” Mr. Xiong, a Suijiang County resident told The Epoch Times.
Another local man by the name of Xia said: “A Yunnan Jianggong Group official’s car injured some protesters when it forced its way through the crowd. Angry protesters damaged the car and beat up the official. Then the local police intervened, making matters worse. The head of the County Public Security Bureau and its Party secretary were [also] beaten up.”
Xiong said that about a thousand armed police in military vehicles finally dispersed the crowd on Mar. 29.
To block the information of the protest from spreading, the local government closed down all Internet cafes and cut off the Internet connection of the entire town.
According to the Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy, more than 50 people were injured during the clash.
A reporter, who called the Suijiang County Office for Petitions and Appeals, was told that the matter was settled, and the migrants’ problems were taken care of. But evacuees said their problems are not resolved.
“The government is paying 160 yuan ($23) per resettler per month, and at this rate it is difficult to maintain even the lowest standard of living,” Xia said.
Some Internet users said the protesters were preparing for the long haul. They bought tents, chairs, and coal for keeping warm. Many bystanders gave them money as support.
The Xiangjiaba hydraulic power station is located in Shuifu County, Yunnan Province and Yibin County, Sichuan Province. Its scheduled operation is 2012. By then 60,000 residents from Suijiang County will have to resettle somewhere else.
Read the original Chinese article.