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Authorities in China’s eastern Jiangsu province have suspended plans to remove hundreds of trees after a major public outcry. Nanjing residents reacted strongly when authorities began removing the city’s iconic French Phoenix trees for a subway expansion plan. Last Saturday, local police broke up a peaceful demonstration in the city center, where hundreds stood together to save the trees.
Residents in eastern China have joined forces to save a local icon. On Saturday hundreds gathered in the capital of Jiangsu province, Nanjing to protest against authorities’ plans to remove hundreds of French Phoenix Trees. These decades-old trees are known to locals as Wutong trees. Authorities wanted to remove them to make way for a subway expansion plan.
The trees are a historic icon in Nanjing. Many were planted when the city was the capital of the Republic of China, before a civil war broke out in 1949.
Earlier this month, residents found dozens of the Phoenix trees along a downtown street had disappeared. Hundreds more trees were marked for removal to clear the way for new subway lines. An immediate public outcry followed, and residents began tying green ribbons on the trees to try and save them.
“Now some places are all bare, we grew up in this environment. With each tree being chopped down, we really feel the pain.”
On Saturday, with the help of Chinese microblogging sites, Weibo, hundreds gathered in the city center for a peaceful protest. The crowd attracted a heavy police presence. According to Hong Kong based Apple Daily, scuffles broke out after police tried to make a young woman take off a green ribbon on her arm. Police eventually dispersed the crowd.