09/30/2005, 00.00
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Rioters clash with police over unpaid wages

Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) - Over 100 workers in Guangdong province clashed with police and smashed vehicles during riots over unpaid wages, state press said on Friday.

The confrontation broke out on Thursday morning after police tried to clear a major road that workers from the Xincun Zhiye Shoe Factory had blocked in protest over their unpaid salaries, the Information Times reported. Workers at the factory said that up to 150 workers had not been paid since August and negotiations with the factory management had gone nowhere, the report said.

Three policemen were injured in the riot that took place in the Baiyun district of the provincial capital Guangzhou, as workers pelted police and other government officials with bricks and rocks, it said. Six vehicles, including two police motorcycles, were damaged and one police car overturned by the crowd, it said. Five workers were arrested for smashing the vehicles, it added, while four employees and a bystander were also injured.

Police at the Zhongluotan police department confirmed that the riot took place but refused to discuss the details.

Guangdong is widely known as the workshop floor of China's economic miracle and the heart of the country's export economy. According to the Guangdong government, the province is host to more than 30 million migrant workers from other parts of China, who form the pool of cheap labour that has made Chinese products widely popular overseas.

Unrest in the region has increased recently as workers clamour for higher wages and better working conditions.

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