At least 60 people have been arrested following violent protests over the weekend against a planned waste incineration plant near the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou, police and residents said Monday.
The protests continued Monday despite a government assurance that it would not move forward with the waste incinerator project in Zhejiang province’s Yuhang district in the suburbs of Hangzhou without the support of the local population.
Two weeks of protests against the incinerator, which would be among the biggest of its kind in Asia if implemented, turned violent on Saturday, with hundreds of police descending into the streets as demonstrators overturned police cars and clashed with the authorities.
During the clashes, at least 29 policemen were injured, more than 30 cars were overturned, two police cars were set on fire, and four more were smashed up, according to state media, which said at least 10 protesters were injured.
Witnesses said they had seen “many” protesters bleeding and lying on the ground.
A Yuhang resident surnamed He said she had seen scores of protesters covered in blood following the clashes on Saturday.
“There were many injured in the clash on that day, all soaked with blood,” she said.
The Hangzhou Public Security Bureau said Monday it had detained 53 people for “disturbing public order” in the protest and seven for “spreading rumors” about it online, state media reported.
Residents renewed their demonstration on Monday, gathering around noon in downtown Yuhang until police moved in and arrested several protesters, one resident speaking on condition of anonymity said.
Some businesses kept their doors closed in protest against the plant, he said, and students had taken to the streets in protest on Sunday night and during the day on Monday, he said.
“At noon, people began to gather at the Big Roundabout, the landmark in Yuhang,” he said.
"Starting in the morning, some small shop owners and peddlers closed their businesses as a way to protest.”
A large number of police officers, armed with sticks, were seen patrolling the streets of Yuhang town.
“I also saw several people being grabbed by feet and hands and brought into a police station,” he said.
A local resident surnamed Liang said the waste incinerator site remained well guarded on Monday with “a lot” of police.
The waste incinerator project has been in the works since 2012. Some of the 500,000 people living near the proposed site say they fear pollution from the plant will affect their health.
On Sunday the Yuhang district government, which is part of Hangzhou, said the construction of the incinerator would stop if it did not have the support of the local population, according to reports.
Police issued a statement Monday saying they were searching for more demonstrators.
"For those who refuse to surrender, abscond or continue to carry out criminal activities, public security and judicial authorities will adopt forceful measures to bring them to justice and punish them according to the law," the statement said, according to Reuters.
Reported by Yang Fan for RFA’s Mandarin Service and by the Cantonese Service. Translated by Shiny Li and Ping Chen. Written in English by Rachel Vandenbrink.