Villagers protest against water diversion project

Updated: 2010-02-08 20:27
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GUANGZHOU: More than 300 villagers attacked a local government building Sunday in a small town of south China's Guangdong Province, protesting against a government-sponsored project to divert some of its water to a neighboring town.

At least six people were injured in the protest, including two officials of Hengshishui town in Yingde, a county-level city in Qingyuan, spokesman Huang Zhensheng with the Yingde city government said Monday.

He did not identify all the victims.

In a fit of fury, the crowd smashed two vehicles, window panes and some office facilities at the local government of Hengshishui town, said Huang.

The villagers said they wanted the government to stop the ongoing construction of a reservoir that was planned to divert water from Hengshishui town to the neighboring Qiaotou town.

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The reservoir, approved by the governments of Qingyuan and Yingde, is to provide drinking water to more than 50,000 people. But residents in Hengshishui said it would worsen the town's already dire water problem.

"We never have enough drinking water for ourselves," said Hua Yuan'ou, a resident in town. "Besides, we have more than 1,000 hectares of sugarcane and rice paddies. We can only pump water from the local pond in the summer drought. How can we live if our scarce water is diverted?"

About 100 villagers took to the street Saturday and tried to disrupt construction of the reservoir by smashing cranes and vehicles with stones. Six were detained by police.

Protestors who rallied at the government office Sunday demanded the immediate release of the six, but to no avail.

The local government said on Monday it would investigate the incident.

The town was quiet on Monday with no protestors on the street.