[La liberté ou la mort] Rassemblement pour la libération des emprisonnés à Haimen

Chinese villagers demand release of detainees

Protesters gathered Saturday outside a town hall in southern China to appeal for the release of people detained during demonstrations over a planned power plant expansion, a witness said.


About 1,000 people took part in the appeal in Haimen, on China’s southeastern coast, said the witness, who was contacted by phone and refused to give his name. He said they talked with local officials, who promised to convey the appeal to their superiors. He said the crowd started to disperse after about two hours.

“There was no violence,” the man said.

The government’s Xinhua News Agency says five people were detained during protests this week against plans to expand the power plant. Residents complain that the plant has contributed to a rise in the number of local cancer cases and polluted seas, threatening local fishing.

On Friday, police fired tear gas at protesters, who included elderly men and women.


Manifestation du vendredi 23 décembre





China has seen an upsurge in such protests over pollution following three decades of explosive growth and lax environmental enforcement.

Protests in Haimen started Tuesday when thousands of people besieged a government office and blocked a highway. Police used tear gas in an attempt to disperse them, and demonstrators hurled rocks, water bottles and bricks in return. Clashes broke out, injuring an unknown number of protesters and police, residents say.

The government said Tuesday that the power plant project would be temporarily suspended, according to Xinhua. But protesters said they have not heard directly from authorities and want the release of several protesters in their teens or early 20s.

Local access to the highway reopened Saturday after protesters who blocked the road dispersed Friday evening, said an employee who answered the phone at an adjacent filling station.

“I saw no protests today. Traffic is normal,” said the man, who refused to give his name.

In September, hundreds of villagers in an eastern Chinese city near Shanghai demonstrated against pollution they blamed on a solar panel factory.

In August, 12,000 residents in the northeastern port city of Dalian protested against a chemical plant after waves from a tropical storm broke a dike guarding the plant and raised fears that floodwaters could release toxic chemicals.

Leur presse (Joe McDonald, Associated Press), 24 décembre 2011.

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