Nearly 1,000 people dispersed following wage protest in SW China

Police in southwest China’s Dujiangyan city dispersed nearly one thousand people who blocked a highway Tuesday after a wage dispute left one person dead and another wounded.

Around 300 migrant workers gathered early Tuesday to protest at a highway exit leading to Dujiangyan, about one hour drive from Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province, police in Chengdu said.

They carried funeral wreaths and banners calling for justice for the two victims. Some 700 onlookers joined the crowd which clashed with the police.

More than 1,000 police officers were dispatched to the scene to keep order.

Lei Yong and Liao Xinglong were two of eight construction workers who went to their employer – Jiaxun Labor Service Company – at around 5 p.m. Monday to claim unpaid wages. A fight ensued.

Lei and Liao were severely beaten by the company staff. Lei died in hospital on Monday evening. Liao is in hospital in a stable condition.

Shortly after Lei’s death, hundreds of his co-workers blocked Erhuan Road in Dujiangyan City. The furious workers clashed with police and toppled a police vehicle.

They dispersed at around 3:30 a.m. Tuesday, 30 minutes after two of the five suspects were detained by police.

However, they protested again, with more people, a few hours later at the highway exit.

The crowd dispersed and traffic resumed at around 11:30 a.m. after Li Kunxue, chief of the Chengdu Public Security Bureau, promised the protesters that the criminals would be punished according to law and that unpaid wages would be paid.

Police are still searching for the other three suspects.

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