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Protest against planned incinerator turns violent in in Chinese City

Written By Unknown on Monday, May 12, 2014 | 4:56 AM

The New York Times 
SHANGHAI — A huge demonstration against a planned waste incinerator in one of eastern China’s biggest cities turned violent on Saturday with protesters overturning and setting fire to police cars, leaving at least 10 demonstrators and 29 police officers injured, according to Xinhua, the official state-run news agency.
The authorities in the city of Hangzhou said on Sunday that they had cleared an expressway that was blocked by the rally a day earlier, and that 700 officers had been deployed there to maintain order. A city official also said that construction on the incinerator, in the city’s Yuhang district, would not go forward without public support and proper legal approvals.

The protest is the latest indication that China’s increasingly affluent residents are willing to challenge the government on health and environmental issues. Over the past few years, similar demonstrations have taken place in Shanghai, Shenzhen and other major cities aimed at halting the construction of chemical factories or waste incinerators that residents believe will threaten the health and safety of their families.

China’s state-run news media said 18 people were arrested last month in another large demonstration against a chemical plant in the city of Maoming, in southern Guangdong Province.

Big cities are rushing to build waste incinerators to keep pace with the country’s rapid growth and a surge in household waste. Growing awareness of the pollutants released around such plants has led to large protests.
While some expensive waste incinerators are environmentally sound, many less-expensive ones release heavy pollutants, like dioxin and mercury, that persist in the atmosphere.

The Hangzhou government told state-run news media that it understood the concerns of the protesters but that the existing four waste incinerators could not keep up with the growing garbage.

A version of this article appears in print on May 12, 2014, on page A7 of the New York edition with the headline: Protest of Planned Incinerator Turns Violent in Chinese City

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