11 April 2012
(c) 2012 Kyodo News
HONG KONG, April 11 -- Thousands of people in central China's Chongqing Municipality protested for two days over a district merger that some people said will bring a heavy financial burden to the richer district, human rights groups said Wednesday.
More than 50 people were injured after protesters from the Wansheng District clashed with police Tuesday, the Information Center for Human Rights and Democracy said.
The Hong Kong-based watchdog said about 1,000 paramilitary police are watching over thousands of protesters who continued Wednesday to block highways and major roads in the Qijiang District, a new district created when the Wansheng District and Qijiang County merged in December.
People from Wansheng complain they now shoulder the financial burden of poorer Qijiang, thinning out funding for welfare, healthcare and pensions, according to reports on Chinese website Jasmine Places, which frequently posts rights violation news in China.
Photographs posted on the website show thousands of protesters gathering in the streets, while truckloads of riot police stand by. Some protesters were clashing with police and others were injured with blood on their faces.
The municipal government could not be reached for comment.
The protest comes at a sensitive time. Chongqing's former party boss Bo Xilai was stripped of his party positions this week and his wife detained as a suspect in the murder of a British businessman in November.