Desperate to head off the construction of a large coal-fired power plant in their area, residents of Ledong County of the island Hainan Province have been protesting for a month.
Nearly ten thousand people took to the streets on April 11 and 12, but were quickly suppressed by thousands of riot police with armored vehicles, batons, pepper spray, and tear gas, according to accounts online and interviews with residents.
Some witnesses claimed that gunshots were also heard; their reports could not be confirmed. The town hospital is said to be filled with villagers injured in the clashes.
Villagers told an Epoch Times reporter that the authorities illegally detained village representatives on April 11. The following day, ten of them were released at around 11 pm.
With emotion in his voice, Mr. Wu, a village resident, said: “When I came near the town hall on April 11 I saw a large number of villagers being suppressed by armed police with electric batons and tear gas. I hurriedly escaped to a roadside house, but I was unexpectedly hit in the head by the police, as a result, I have blackened eyes and my head still feels very dizzy.”
During the protest, nearly 60 people were injured, including elderly people and kindergarten children, according to the estimates of locals. They are waiting in the hospital for treatment.
At midnight on April 12, after village representatives were released by the authorities, the thousands protesting in front of the town hall started to leave.
Authorities promised to stop constructing the power plant but villagers worry that they merely said that to make the crowd go away.
Yinggehai town has over 18,000 residents who live on fishing and agriculture. The villagers worry that the waste emitted from the coal-fired power plant will damage the environment and affect the health of residents.