Construction of a garbage incinerator in an eastern China city has been suspended after protesters blocked traffic on a highway and clashed with the police over the weekend, leaving nearly 40 persons injured in the latest incident of citizens rallying over pollution fears.
Protesters set ablaze two police vehicles and overturned several dozen vehicles on a highway leading to the city of Hangzhou in east China, reports said, adding that traffic was disrupted for hours as the demonstrators occupied the highway.
At least 29 police personnel and 10 protesters were injured in the clash.
According to state media reports, about 700 officers were dispatched to the scene in Zhongtai Township, Yuhang District, where the plant is scheduled to be built.
The weekend protests were not the first one over the incinerator site. Residents had gathered several times against the project after the Hangzhou municipal government publicised the site of the planned incinerator in April.
Local people believe the facility will be a health hazard and create pollution.
“We don’t want our children and grandchildren to get cancer,” a Weibo user said in a post.
On Sunday, state media quoted a top Communist Party of China (CPC) official from the area as saying that work on the project will not start without public support.
“The district government has announced that it will fully listen to public opinion and invite residents to participate in every stage of the project's preliminary procedures,” Xu Wenguang, party chief of Hangzhou's Yuhang district was quoted as saying.
In March, hundreds of people in the southern city of Maoming protested against plans to build a petrochemical plant out of fear it would contribute to pollution.
IN the last couple of years, similar protests were staged across southern Chinese cities. The protests have turned violent at times with protesters targeting government buildings and official cars. In retaliation, the police have targetted the citizens as well. Many were jailed and detained.
According to the official news agency, Xinhua, since 2007, planned PX projects in Xiamen, Dalian, Ningbo and Kunming were cancelled after residents protested.