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Guangdong demonstrators take to streets for second day to protest waste incinerator plans

Sunday, 14 September, 2014

He Huifeng

Demonstrations against a controversial waste incinerator project continued in Huizhou in Guangdong yesterday ahead of today’s close of the public consultation over the plan.

Hundreds of people gathered in front of the county’s government building and a public square, as anti-riot police stood monitoring the situation, according to several residents.

The protest followed a bigger rally on Saturday, when participants and witnesses estimated thousands took to the streets in Boluo county, demanding the authorities scrap the incinerator project, which would process 2,600 tonnes of rubbish a day.

Li Wei, a local resident, said a petition highlighting residents’ concerns was being circulated. “So far we have more than 20,000 names on more than 1,000 sheets of paper,” Li said.

“I believe more people will join the protest [today] and even students will turn out because it’s the last day of the government’s one-month public consultation over the project.

“If we don’t stand up to fight, it will be too late to save our community,” he added.

Municipal authorities said the location of the incinerator had not been decided.

They released a statement saying Saturday’s gathering was illegal and the work of people with ulterior motives. The local public security bureau said 24 people had been detained on suspicion of disturbing public order and causing trouble. Sixteen had received administrative punishment.

The local government would “further gather reasonable and lawful suggestions and opinions from the public” and would “pick the project site scientifically and in accordance of the law”.

In April, residents in three Guangdong cities – Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Maoming – took to the streets to protest against building a 3.5 billion yuan (HK$4.4 billion) paraxylene (PX) plant in Maoming.

In May, another mass rally over a proposed waste incinerator in the eastern city of Hangzhou left at least 10 demonstrators and 29 police officers injured.

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