Chinese protesters stormed a government office on Saturday to demand that officials stop a waste pipeline project that was to be implemented in the area. MSNBC reports that the thousands of protesters who gathered in the eastern city of Qidong near Shanghai overturned cars and destroyed computers in their bid to inspire change.
This protest was specifically aimed at a waste pipeline that would spill out of a paper-making factory in Nantong and straight into the sea. The protesters walked through the streets shouting slogans before making it to a government building and staging the main event of the demonstration.
One protester told reporters:
The government says the waste will not pollute the sea, but if that’s true, then why don’t they dump it into Yangtze River?…It is because if they dump it into the river, it will have an impact on people in Shanghai and people in Shanghai will oppose it.
Government officials became nervous after protesters overturned cars and dragged at least two police officers into the crowd where they were pummeled. Thousands of officers were reported to stand guard outside of the government building after it was made apparent that the protesters were not going home.
The scene was chaotic, according to the Associated Press, as bottles of wine and liquor as well as cigarettes and office papers were thrown out of the government building and tossed about by protesters.
The high energy of the protest did force government officials to announce that the waste pipeline project would be stopped. The company behind the paper-making factory has maintained that they value environmental protection and that waste treatment plans would go into effect.
China has witnessed a growing number of outspoken protests over the course of the year, especially regarding to environmental damage and working conditions. 1,000 workers overturned an iron gate and multiple cars in Ruian, China in May to demand improvements in working conditions. A recent study also showed that well over half of Chinese citizens are concerned about environmental damage and protection.
The Associated Press notes that a rare shake-up of top leadership is expected for later this year. Populations have been increasingly pushing public officials to reconsider their environmental policies. Officials have tried to stifle mention of this particular protest by disabling the search term “Qidong” on a massively popular microblogging site, but the event has reached an international audience despite these efforts.
Photo Credit: JerryofWong