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China migrant workers clash with police for third night

June 14, 2011

Chinese migrant workers have clashed with police for a third
consecutive night outside the southern city of Guangzhou.

About 1,000 protesters set fire to cars and damaged government
buildings on Sunday night near the city in China's manufacturing
heartland, reports said.

Police reportedly fired tear gas and deployed armoured vehicles.

The protests began over the alleged mistreatment of a pregnant migrant
worker by security guards.

Eyewitnesses said she fell to the ground - some say she was pushed -
after a disagreement with security officials, who wanted her to move
her stall from in front of a supermarket.

When news of the incident spread, other migrant workers - most from
far-off Sichuan province - went on the rampage, says the BBC's Michael
Bristow in Beijing.

Bricks and bottles were thrown at police, windows were smashed, and
police vehicles were overturned, reports said.

At least 25 people have been arrested.

The town of Zengcheng - just outside Guangzhou - is a hub for clothing
factories and is home to migrants working in a number of textile
factories.

"The case was just an ordinary clash between street vendors and local
public security people, but was used by a handful of people who wanted
to cause trouble," Zengcheng Mayor Ye Niuping was quoted by the China
Daily newspaper as saying.

Complaints about corruption and abuse of power are widespread, and
incidents like this happen across China every week, our correspondent
says.
'Unnatural death'

The arrests follow a separate incident further north, in Lichuan city
in Hubei province, where hundreds of people laid siege to local
government offices following the death in custody of a respected local
official.

The official, Ran Jinxian, had been arrested for allegedly taking
bribes linked to land seizures and forced demolitions of people's
homes.

Mr Ran, 49, was arrested on 26 May and died on 4 June. His family said
he was beaten to death during interrogation.

Several officials have been detained or are under investigation over
Mr Ran's death.

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