Thousands protest against chemical plant in China

August 14th, 2011 - 1:13 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, Aug 14 (IANS) Thousands of residents staged a protest and scuffled with police Sunday morning in the northwestern port city of Dalian seeking relocation of a chemical plant over fears of toxic leaks.

The protesters, mostly young people, sang the national anthem and displayed banners reading “We want to survive” and “We want a good environment”, Xinhua reported.

They chanted “Fujia (the chemical plant), get out” and scuffled with riot control officers in a public square in front of Dalian’s municipal government offices. There were no reports of injuries.

The protest started with a small crowd sitting in front of the buildings around 10 a.m. Sunday and quickly grew from there.

The city’s Communist Party of China (CPC) chief Tang Jun and mayor Li Wancai tried to pacify the crowd by promising to move the plant out of the city.

The plant is a producer of paraxylene (PX), a petrochemical used to create raw materials for the production of polyester film and fabrics. The chemical is carcinogenic, which is any substance or radiation that is an agent directly involved in causing cancer.

Calls to relocate the Fujia Chemical Plant mounted this week after large waves whipped up by tropical storm Muifa breached an embankment near the plant.

Built to protect the plant from floodwaters; residents are concerned that a potential flood could damage the plant and cause it to release toxic chemicals.

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