Monday, November 24, 2008

Wudu, China - Two days of rioting involving thousands of people erupted on Monday, Nov. 17 in Wudu, in Gansu province's poverty-stricken region of Longnan, where 1.8 million people were made homeless by the May 12 Sichuan earthquake. An angry crowd of about 10,000 (some witnesses said 50,000; the state media said 2000) rioted in China's impoverished Gansu province over the government's redevelopment plan, torching cars and attacking a local Communist Party office, injuring police and officials. At one point, rioters met a surging wall of armed police officers with a hail of rocks, bricks, bottles and flowerpots. The crowd reportedly later confronted police with iron bars, axes, chains and hoes as protesters tried to hijack a firetruck and smashed windows and office equipment in two government buildings.

The state-run press has reported on numerous pickets and demonstrations that have broken out across China in recent weeks, including a two-day strike by disgruntled taxi drivers in the city of Chongqing, about 300 miles south of Longnan.