China environmental protest violence condemned
Authorities have condemned an environmental protest in southern China that turned violent, calling it “serious criminal behaviour”.
Residents in Maoming, Guangdong province protested against the construction of a petrochemical plant that manufactures paraxylene.
Violence broke out, with reports of several injured protesters. On Tuesday, the protests spread to Guangzhou. Protests are rare in China where it is illegal to protest without a permit.
Hundreds of Maoming residents marched on the streets protesting against the proposed plant. Some protesters said turnout was more than 1,000.
Clashes with police broke out, with reports of tear gas being fired at protesters. Photos and videos posted on Chinese social media appeared to show injured protesters, police chasing demonstrators with batons, and burning cars.
Smaller protests appeared to continue, spreading to Guangzhou, the provincial capital, on Tuesday.
A Maoming Daily article, carried on the Maoming government website, said: “On [Sunday] afternoon, a small number of protesters disrupted traffic, before gradually dispersing.