Police arrest 200 protesters in Guizhou revolt
Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Police have taken control of Wengan County, (Guizhou), arresting 200 protesters including 30 high school students. In the mainland's biggest riot this year more than 10,000 people rioted on Saturday June 28th, setting fire to government buildings and cars to vent their anger over a police cover-up of a schoolgirl's death. Protesters burnt three government buildings and at least 12 cars. It took 1,500 police to restore calm. Police beat “rioters”, young and old, making a series of arrests. One protester died and over 150 have been left seriously injured.
The riot was sparked by a police finding that a 15-year-old girl had killed herself by jumping into a river. Relatives of the girl believe she was raped and murdered and then dumped in the river. Some local sources alleged police were trying to cover up the murder as the key suspect was the son of a senior county official in Guizhou.
Protests began Saturday with a handful of students, after the girl’s uncle who had accused the police of manipulating the case, was violently beaten by police. The police had twice tried to steal the girl's corpse to conceal the evidence, but failed. The girl's parents have been keeping her body, found in the river 10 days ago, in a refrigerated coffin.
The story has been carried on various websites and blogs commenting on this latest case of corruption and violence by local authorities. One of these blogs comments: “Whose regime is this? Whose `police' are these? It is likely the uprising had the support of civilians. But the most miserable thing is that ordinary people are not armed, so they will eventually be crushed by others like ants. They will have to face machine guns, artillery or tanks, if they refuse to compromise with the authority”.
Xinhua news agency reported on the episode saying the protests were caused by people’s “dissatisfaction” with the inquiry into the girl’s death, but gave no further details.
Protests and revolts against high level corruption are frequent in China. According to data published by the Ministry for Public Security there are at least 200-300 per day. With the Olympic Games nearing, the central government fears that these cases of injustice will come to light. This is why the central government has ordered its local branches to “diffuse” all demonstrations and petitions and prevent “mass incidents”.
Even if protests have become less unified over the last year they have become increasingly violent with police no longer hesitating over the use of weapons, often shooting at the crowds of protesters.