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Thousands attack police in southern China: state media

Posted by Author on November 8, 2008

AFP, Nov. 7, 2008-

BEIJING (AFP) — Thousands of people attacked Chinese police in the southern city of Shenzhen from Friday afternoon to early Saturday morning, state media reported.

Xinhua news agency reported the unrest in an “urgent” report, quoting Shenzhen city’s government saying a police car was burnt when thousands of people protested the death of a 31-year-old motorcyclist on Friday.

The report said the motorcyclist died after driving through a police checkpoint set up as part of a crackdown on illegal motor vehicles in the city’s Bao’an district.

A police officer threw his “interphone” at the passing motorcyclist, the report said, “who reeled down to an electric pole, got injured, and died with futile rescue efforts.”

A subsequent Xinhua report, quoting the city’s police authority, said no police were at the checkpoint and it had been set up by a subdistrict office of Bao’an district.

However, a police patrol was nearby and relatives of the dead man attacked it, blaming the police, the later report said, as 400 people gathered while another 2,000 looked on.

The police car was burnt as the crowd became angry, while some of the onlookers threw stones, Xinhua said.

The later report made no mention of injuries and said the crowd had dispersed by 2:00 am Saturday (1800 GMT Friday).

An official with the subdistrict office had been detained by police, the report added.

Shenzhen is a booming coastal city just over the border from Hong Kong.

It has a population of about eight million people, according to its official website, which made no mention of the violence.

China sees thousands of such disturbances each year as marginalised segments of society rise up against what they see as the heavy-handed practices of local governments, police or powerful businesses.

In June, tens of thousands of people rioted in southwest Guizhou province over claims police had covered up an alleged rape and murder of a teenage girl.

The Hong Kong-based Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said that over 10,000 people took to the streets in that protest, with up to 150 people injured in clashes with police.

AFP

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