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Construction workers clash with police in Anhui province

samedi 17 janvier 2009, par Robert Paris

Construction workers clash with police in Anhui province

Sat, 17 Jan 2009.

Ten workers injured as hundreds clash with riot police in eastern China

Some 1,000 workers angry over unpaid wages, blocked a major bridge spanning the mainland’s Yangtze river in eastern Anhui province on Tuesday afternoon. The workers’ protest action was broken up by about 500 riot police, leading to clashes, according to the Hong Kong-based Information Centre for Human Rights & Democracy (ICHRD).

This latest outbreak of collective struggle by workers confirms government fears of surging protests and riots this year, as the economic crisis deepens and more workers are laid off.

“Ten workers were hurt in clashes [with the riot police],” the Information Centre for Human Rights & Democracy said in its statement. Local police and a spokesman for the developer which employed the workers confirmed the incident, but said the dispute had been resolved.

“Because Chinese New Year is coming, some workers had booked tickets to go home, so they were angry with the company,” the anonymous company spokesman said. According to this spokesman the dispute originated becausethe company had run into “some capital problem with banks”.

In recent months China has seen a spate of strikes and protests involving taxi drivers, teachers, hotel workers, police and laid-off factory workers. Workers in China are not allowed to join an independent trade union, only management-run ’unions’ sanctioned by government. Increasingly, in today’s charged atmosphere with unemployment soaring, workers will force the issue of genuine trade union rights onto the agenda.

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