Mon, Nov 20, 2006 - Page 1 News List

Tensions remain high in Guangdong village land-protest

AFP AND AP , BEIJING AND HONG KONG

Tensions in a village in Guang-dong Province remained high yesterday after heavily armed police freed eight government officials taken hostage following the arrest of a right's activist.

Police armed with guns, clubs and police dogs fired warning shots and tear gas through Dongzhou early on Saturday before storming a small temple to free the hostages, villagers said.

Villagers said yesterday that police were still surrounding Dongzhou amid fears that more villagers would be arrested.

"Every road into the village is blocked, police have guns and dogs and are inspecting everyone that goes in and out," a local named Liu said by telephone. "So far three people have been arrested, but I think they are going to arrest a lot more."

The large police contingent began encircling the village on Wednesday, days after residents took the eight officials hostage in retaliation for the arrest of anti-corruption activist Chen Qian (陳簽), villagers said.

Meanwhile, freelance US photojournalist Danfung Dennis said yesterday that he had been assaulted by police and detained for 10 to 12 hours after he tried to cover the dispute.

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