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    Thousands Protest in Hunan Over Waste Process Plant

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    Rapid economic growth in China has pushed many industries to build polluting factories on what used to be farmland. But rampant corruption often stops environmental protection laws from being enforced in the countryside. And that's a major problem for many people who live there. In one town in Hunan province, a clash broke out last week after authorities decided to go ahead with a construction project--despite pleas against it from locals.

    Thousands of residents in China's southeastern Hunan province clashed with police last week over plans for a waste processing plant. Authorities in Beishan county, Changsha prefecture want to build the plant above a dam. Locals oppose the move, saying it will cause serious pollution to their water source.

    The protests happened last Thursday. A local government worker, who asked to remain anonymous, said it was sparked by the arrest of two villagers who had led calls against the plant. Amateur footage and photos posted online by witnesses show the crowd outside the Beishan government building.

    [...]

    The officer says authorities deployed a large number of police to contain the protest. Several villagers were injured in the protest.

    [Beishan Government Worker]:
    "There were about a thousand police who had come, or were awaiting orders at their posts. These included anti-riot police, special forces and city-patrols officers. This led to some clashes. The crowd stretched out for about half a mile. From what I know, the protest lasted between 3 and 11pm, and then things went back to normal."

    According to information posted online by locals, Beishan authorities began construction for the plant in July. It came despite desperate pleas by residents who fear their land will be polluted when the plant begins processing industrial waste.