Clashes broke out between police and residents of Linshui, Sichuan province, during the weekend over the plans for a railway, The Wall Street Journal reported.
But it was not because they don’t want the railway built — in fact, they want it to serve their city.
The residents were angry that the railway’s route has been changed so that, instead of passing through Linshui, it will go through neighboring Guangan, a regional hub known as the birthplace of China’s late leader Deng Xiaoping.
The official Xinhua news agency quoted unnamed officials as saying the route remains under discussion and that authorities expressed their concern about the incident and made efforts to manage it.
The protests received coverage by China’s national state-run media, including photos that showed bloodied protesters, though many items were apparently deleted on social media platforms.
Photos posted online showed police vehicles with windshields smashed, overturned and on fire. In videos posted online, police swung batons at men and women who hurled rocks that at times prompted police to take cover under their shields.
The residents of Linshui, about 100 kilometers from Chongqing, who took part in a peaceful march on Saturday, were concerned that the lack of a railway would hold back the local economy.
The violence began when some of the police started treating protesters roughly, a witness said.
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