07/16/2009, 00.00
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The first protest of foreigners in China: Nigerians against the police in Guangzhou

In a police chase two Nigerians jump from a second story window. One dies the other is seriously wounded. At least 200 Africans surround the police station. Episode sparked by the problem of visas, cancelled for security reasons before 1 October, 60th Anniversary of the People’s Republic of China.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The death of a Nigerian, fleeing from a police check on visas, has given rise to what is thought to be the first protest of foreigners in China. At least 200 Africans have surrounded a police station carrying the body of the dead man, demanding explanations from the police.

After the dead man, Emmanul Egisimba, was taken to the hospital, the African demonstrators blocked the entrance to the police station and the adjacent street. The curious thing is that according to the Africans - mostly Nigerians - their friend is dead, while police claim there was no death.

Eye-witness accounts reported by the South China Morning Post, say that Egisimba and another Nigerian, who were visiting a mall, took flight when the police tried to stop them to check their visas. The police chased them, cornering them on the second floor of the building. In all likelihood Egisimba threw himself from a height of 18 meters to escape capture, instead finding the death as he crashed to the ground. The other Nigerian also jumped, and suffered multiple fractures.

The police declared that the Nigerian "was doing illegal currency exchange”, and sustained a back injury while trying to break a window and climb out of the building. "Another foreigner" - continues the statement – “was seriously injured while jumping from the building”.

The demonstrators complain that as festivities for the 60th anniversary of the People’s Republic of China draw near, their visas are not being renewed on grounds of safety.

According to the Academy of Sciences in Guangzhou, there are at least 20 thousand Africans in the city, but there are many more illegal immigrants. They are make a living in trade, buying cheap goods directly from factories in Guangdong.



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