Police, pollution protesters clash in northern China city

BEIJING (AP) " Police and protesters opposed to the construction of a massive aluminum plant clashed in a northern Chinese city Thursday despite the local government's announcement that it was suspending the project.

Several dozen protesters gathered outside government offices in Daqing, pushing up against a large contingent of police, including some with dogs.

At least two people were taken away and a woman was carried off after collapsing in the street, according to footage obtained by the AP. It was unclear whether she had been injured by police.

Thursday's protest over the plant planned by aluminum producer Zhongwang Holdings Ltd. took place despite a city government pledge Wednesday to put it on hold.

Local governments in China often announce suspensions of projects following protests, only to quietly restart them months later.

Such environmental protests are becoming increasingly common as China's middle-class demands a cleaner environment and becomes more aware of health risks posed by heavily polluting industries blamed for the choking smog that smothers Beijing and other cities.

Responding to the protests, Hong Kong-listed Zhongwang earlier issued a statement saying that its production processes met international environmental standards.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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