Residents Battle Police in Southern Chinese Township

Posted June 13th, 2011 at 2:55 am (UTC-5)
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Authorities in southern China are trying to calm tensions after days of repeated clashes between residents and police.

The state-run China Daily newspaper said officials have been sent to neighborhoods and factories to talk to residents after the clashes, in which angry rioters hurled bricks and rocks, and set fire to vehicles in an industrial town in Guangdong province.

Officials say the riots began Friday evening with an altercation between police and a migrant street-vending couple who were reportedly blocking the entrance to a supermarket in Xintang township. About 100 onlookers fought with police to prevent the couple from being taken away.

China's Global Times newspaper says more than 1,000 people gathered outside the town's police station the next night, attacking police and damaging police cars.

The Associated Press quotes witnesses saying the violence continued Sunday evening, with tens of thousands of people blocking a highway interchange and setting fire to emergency vehicles.

The riots are the latest in a series of clashes between residents and authorities in various parts of China. Last week, thousands of people attacked government offices in the central city of Lichuan following reports that a city councilor had been beaten to death by police.

Thousands of people protested in Inner Mongolia last month after a herder was killed by a truck driven by a Chinese coal mining employee. The driver was convicted of murder and sentenced to death last week.

In late April, Chinese truck drivers shut down some Shanghai port facilities to protest new fees and rising fuel prices they said were eating away at their profits.