Feature

Workers’ revolution

The week's news at a glance.

Zhejiang, China

Peasants furious about a battery factory’s toxic waste set fire to the factory and police cars this week, in a riot that left dozens injured. The protesters were demanding the factory in Zhejiang Province be closed, or moved, claiming the local environment is being polluted by its lead emissions. Police used tear gas and riot sticks to break up the protest—sending at least 60 people to the hospital with minor injuries—then allegedly beat up residents of local villages in retribution. That night, a mob of 5,000 villagers struck back by breaking into government offices and setting fire to police cars. It was the latest clash between the government and increasingly unruly peasants, who are angry about corruption, pollution, and a growing income gap between the rich and poor. The government acknowledges there were more than 74,000 protests last year.

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