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September 19, 2009

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Battery-plant protest continues

PROTESTS against a battery factory suspected of causing lead pollution in east China continued yesterday as nearly 100 villagers gathered in front of the government of Jiaoyang Township, Fujian Province.

They demanded that the Huaqiang Battery Factory move out of the town. The crowd dispersed during the afternoon.

Ding Yanzhi, head of the town government, said the factory had been ordered to suspend operations and efforts to clean up the environment around it had begun.

In a move to put more pressure on the local government, all dealers at a local open fair with 192 stalls suspended their business yesterday.

Ding said the local government would organize tests on blood lead levels for all children in the town. Hundreds of children were yesterday absent from the local primary school and kindergarten.

At least four children in Jiaoyang have been found to have excessive lead levels in their blood, which their parents said was a result of pollution from the factory.

Officials from the governments of Longyan City and Shanghang County went to the township on Thursday to talk with villagers.

The villagers blocked a highway for several hours on Thursday morning.


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