Wednesday, May 27

China blocks flood victims from staging another protest

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BEIJING: Authorities in eastern China dispatched hundreds of security officers to block a possible second day of protests yesterday after thousands of angry flood victims clashed with police to demand official help for the worst floods in a century.

More than 800,000 people in Yuyao in eastern Zhejiang province were affected by last week’s massive floods after Typhoon Fitow hit eastern China.

On Tuesday thousands of flood victims marched in front of their city government office, criticising what they said was ineffective relief efforts and urging the party secretary and the mayor to step down, according to accounts on microblogs.

State media said Yuyao was hit hardest in Zhejiang. The rainfall, the worst in a century, caused more than 70 per cent of Yuyao to be flooded and economic losses of nearly 7 billion yuan (US$1.15 billion), according to the China News Service. The local government has not released the number of casualties.

Riot police officers stood guard in Yuyao yesterday morning to prevent any further protests, according to photos posted by Chinese rights group, Civil Rights and Livelihood Watch.

The founder of the group, Liu Feiyue, told Reuters he had received the photographs from residents in Yuyao.

Residents on Tuesday attacked the city’s government office, tearing down the Communist Party’s mantra, “Serve the People”, mounted at the entrance of the office, according to photographs on Sina Weibo, China’s version of Twitter.

Several residents were seen bleeding from the head, according to photographs on Sina. — Reuters