Thousands of Workers Attack Government Building in Wenzhou, South China

Early Tuesday morning, several thousand migrant workers attacked a government building near Wenzhou City in Eastern China’s Zhejiang Province. The death of a young migrant worker, Yang Zhi, triggered the incident. Yang’s boss, Xu Qiyin, is believed to have killed him over a disagreement.

Angry workers smashed cars parked at the Xianjiang County government compound. Protesters also set some vehicles on fire. They threw rocks, bricks, and bottles at the compound.

NTD spoke to a local resident regarding the incident.

[Fan, Xianjiang County Resident ]:
“There are thousands [of protesters]. It seems like all of them are from other cities. I heard that they were surrounding the building until nightfall.”

Riot police were dispatched to control the situation. The police used tear gas and arrested many of the workers.

[NTD reporter]:
“How many policemen were dispatched?”

[Fan, Xianjiang County Resident]:
“Many police cars.”

[NTD reporter]:
“I heard that the police used tear gas to disperse people.”

[Fan, Xianjiang County Resident]:
“Yes, they did.”

NTD spoke to the Xianjiang Police Station for more detailied information. An officer confirmed the arrest of workers, but couldn’t confirm the number.

[An officer in Xianjiang Police Station]:
“How can we release them? You should ask them if they were being disorderly. If yes, we have to deal with them. If not, they can go home.”

[NTD reporter]:
“How many people were arrested yesterday?”

[An officer in Xianjiang Police Station]:
“I’m telling you that I don’t know. I just took this case over today.”

Yang Zhi, a 19-year-old migrant worker from Hunan Province, engaged in a physical altercation with his boss, Xu Qiyin, due to a payment issue. Yang was seriously injured and sent to hospital. He died on May 26.

On May 28, Yang’s family and hundreds of villagers from his hometown came to Xianjiang County to appeal for justice, but failed to get any results.

Although a resident told NTD that protesters remained on the scene until evening, state-run Xinhua news agency reports that the protest ended around midday, when Xu gave Yang’s family $47,300 USD in compensation for his death.

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