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July 31, 2009

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Villagers protest again

VILLAGERS gathered outside a government building and police station in Zhentou Township, central China's Hunan Province, yesterday to protest detentions from the previous day's demonstration against pollution caused by a chemical plant.

A township government spokesman said villagers on Wednesday staged the protests because they considered they were not being fairly treated for problems caused by the Xianhe Chemical Plant's pollution.

They were asking for free health check-ups and medical treatment and compensation for poisoned crops and land.

The villagers protested yesterday the detention of six villagers and demanded a solution to the plant's pollution problems once and for all. One person was injured in the Wednesday protest.

A source from the Hunan Provincial Environmental Protection Department said the plant, in Shuangqiao Village of the township, has had problems since it started operating in April 2004.

The villagers said the plant produced excessive levels of toxic heavy metals cadmium and indium, which also affected the water supply.

The environmental protection department ordered the plant to halt production in March this year.


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