Authorities in eastern China dispatched hundreds of security officers to block a possible second day of protests yesterday after thousands of angry flood victims clashed with police to demand official help after the worst floods in a century.
More than 800,000 people in Yuyao in eastern Zhejiang Province were affected by last week’s massive floods after Typhoon Fitow hit eastern China.
On Tuesday, thousands of flood victims marched in front of their city government office, criticizing what they said was ineffective relief efforts and urging the party secretary and the mayor to step down, according to accounts on microblogs.
State media said Yuyao was hit hardest in Zhejiang. The rainfall, the worst in a century, caused more than 70 percent of Yuyao to be flooded and economic losses of nearly 7 billion yuan (US$1.15 billion), according to the China News Service. The local government has not released the number of casualties.
Riot police officers stood guard in Yuyao yesterday morning to prevent any further protests, according to photos posted by the Chinese rights group Civil Rights and Livelihood Watch. Group founder Liu Feiyue (劉飛躍) said he had received the photographs from residents in Yuyao.
Residents on Tuesday attacked the city’s government office, tearing down the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) mantra, “Serve the people,” mounted at the entrance of the office, according to photographs on the Sina Weibo microblogging Web site.
Several residents were seen bleeding from the head, according to photographs on Sina.
“We strongly condemn the shameless acts by the police and riot police for using any pretext to beat people,” a microblogger from Yuyao said.
The state-run Yuyao Daily said in an editorial yesterday that residents should “express their rational demands at an appropriate time, and in a reasonable manner.”
“Everyone has a duty to maintain stability, let us do more to help disaster recovery and social stability, and resolutely not participate in matters that will hurt disaster rebuilding, recovery efforts and social stability,” the newspaper said.
The head of the organization department of the party’s Zhejiang provincial committee Cai Qi (蔡奇) called for residents to restrain from radical acts, adding government officials have been trying their best in disaster relief.
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