China : Large-scale clashes in Chongqing ,500 injured
The southwestern megacity of Chongqing was under police and army control on Wednesday following large-scale clashes in its Wansheng district between thousands of local residents and police, resident said.Large numbers of police and military personnel had been deployed in the area following two days of violence and demonstrations."The army is here. There are a large number of trucks. The armed police vehicles came too," she said. "Yesterday the police from Qijiang beat up some students who had just got out of school at 9.00 p.m."
The riots were triggered by a decision to merge Wansheng district with neighboring Qijiang county earlier this year, according to online reports. Residents of Wansheng District are worried their living standards and economic conditions will be hit by the merger, said the reports.
Some bloggers were able to upload photos reportedly taken from Wansheng that showed streets full of thousands of protesters and swarms of riot police, plus images of some people with blood-covered faces.
Protesters in the photos carried banners which read "Give us back Wansheng district" and "We need to eat."
"There were a lot of police. At least 4,000 or 5,000," a source said. "There were regular police, armed police and regular soldiers too."
"There were more than 10,000 people there," he added. "A lot of people got hurt.They were detaining people".
Protesters blocked the entry road to national highway 303 on Wednesday, continuing a protest they began on Tuesday.
An eyewitness estimated that the crowd reached around 10,000 at its height.
He said some of the protesters had surrounded police vehicles. "They were pushing and pulling them, but it wasn't as scary as last night."
A resident surnamed Cai also said that thousands of people had demonstrated again on Wednesday following the clashes on Tuesday night.
"Yesterday evening there was a huge disturbance after a lot of people from Wansheng district got together and blocked the road," she said.
"Today several thousand, maybe 10,000 of them went to block the highway," she added.
"I heard they were even beating up primary school students, and that someone even died [Tuesday] evening."
She said residents of Wansheng, a coal-mining district of China's 25-million strong megacity, were angry because they stood to lose valuable state subsidies linked to the coal industry once their district was merged with another.
"The national government has been given a certain amount of funding to Wansheng because it is a resource city," Cai said. "There are a lot of government subsidies available for people who live in designated resource areas, and these have been taken away from us by Qi county."
The crowds had dispersed by Wednesday evening, Cai said.
Radio Television Hong Kong reported on Wednesday that at least 500 people had been injured in clashes between demonstrators and police.