by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Nov 21, 2011
Thousands of demonstrators marched Monday in south China to protest against a local land grab, carrying banners and shouting slogans opposing "dictatorship" and "corruption", locals said.
The peaceful march in Lufeng city in Guangdong province -- China's industrial heartland -- comes two months after protestors there rioted over the same problem, attacking a police station and ransacking vehicles.
"Yesterday, 4,500 people signed their signature to support this (protest)," a marcher surnamed Zhang told AFP by phone.
"The government promised to solve the land problem but they haven't... If they don't handle it this time, it won't be peaceful next time."
The protest centres around land requisitioned in Wukan village, which comes under the jurisdiction of the Lufeng government.
Locals have accused authorities of forcibly grabbing the land and not compensating them, but the government insists the process was lawful.
The Lufeng government was not immediately available for comment.
Land grabs have become a leading social issue in China with locals often accusing authorities of colluding with developers in lucrative real estate deals, which have become a key source of government revenue.
Zhang said around half of the people who had signed up for the march had shown up and were peacefully shouting slogans as they marched. Another local said that more than 4,000 people were involved.
Photos of the protest posted on China's popular Twitter-like weibo site showed marchers carrying colourful flags with printed slogans such as "Oppose dictatorship", "Punish corruption" and "Give us back our rights."
"The issues brought up by the villagers have not been resolved," one local, who refused to be named, told AFP by phone.
"Villagers from Wukan have petitioned the Lufeng government countless times, all to no avail, so this is why they have joined together in protest."
The unrest is the latest to hit Guangdong, known as the workshop of the world for the tens of millions of migrant workers who toil in the province's factories.
On Thursday, more than 7,000 workers went on strike at a factory in Guangdong that makes New Balance, Adidas and Nike shoes, clashing with police in a protest over layoffs and wage cuts, a rights group said.
China News from SinoDaily.com
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