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China: 39 injured in waste disposal clashes

AT least 10 demonstrators and 29 police officers were injured at the weekend in clashes during a protest in Hangzhou, eastern China, against plans to build a waste incinerator.

Protesters overturned 30 vehicles, set two police cars on fire and blocked a motorway.

Thousands of people joined the protest, which followed government assurances that the project would not pose a health threat.

The protesters did not return on Sunday as police were heavily guarding the area but they did register a tentative victory in their fight against the incinerator.

An online statement posted by the district government said that construction would not begin until the project had won public support.

Hangzhou police also said that protesters who had vandalised property could receive more lenient punishment if they handed themselves in.

“People are losing confidence in the way the government is handling these projects,” said Wu Yixiu, head of environmental group Greenpeace’s toxics campaign in East Asia.

“There’s more of a perception that people are not willing to sacrifice the environment and health in exchange for development.

“This is a clear message to the government that if you push something like this forcefully, this is what will happen,” Mr Wu said. “But it is a lose-lose result.

“It’s a loss for the government, because they need to find a place to put their garbage.

“It’s also a loss for the people, because they need to live somewhere where garbage is properly treated.”


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