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Farmers protest over Three Gorges Dam relocation: residents

by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) March 4, 2009
Farmers relocated to make way for the Three Gorges Dam, the world's biggest hydroelectric power project, clashed with police in a protest over alleged corruption, locals said Wednesday.

Between 1,000 and 2,000 people protested in Jiangnan township in central China's Chongqing municipality on Monday and Tuesday, leading to clashes with police, they said.

"The reason for the protest was because the government did not pay enough for relocation fees," an elderly woman, who asked not to be named out of fear of repercussions, told AFP by phone.

"The police used pepper spray on the protesters... blood was spilt."

The biggest protest occurred on Monday when up to 30 villagers were taken away by police, while a handful of demonstrators were detained on Tuesday when the protests were smaller, she said.

"Many people were injured," she added.

Another local confirmed the protests to AFP and added that up to 800 police had been called in from Chongqing to maintain order.

"Some of the protesters were complaining that to get better homes and relocation funds from the government, they had to bribe officials," said the second resident, who also declined to be named.

"People who bribed officials got government relocation subsidies in return."

Local government and police refused to comment on the incidents when contacted by AFP.

The massive Three Gorges Dam, which spans the Yangtze River, has taken about 15 years to complete. During the process at least 1.4 million people have been forced to move from areas that are now-submerged.

A further four million have been "encouraged" to move by 2020, officials have said, with some to be resettled due to dangers caused by soil erosion along the nearly 600-kilometre (370-mile) long reservoir behind the dam.

The Hong Kong-based Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said up to 2,000 protesters were in the streets of Jiangnan, blocking roads and clashing with police on Wednesday.

Protesters claimed local officials had embezzled 10 million yuan (1.5 million dollars) in relocation funds, it said.

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50,000 Nepalis flee after dam burst
Kathmandu (AFP) Aug 20, 2008
Some 50,000 people have been forced to flee after monsoon rains washed away a dam in southern Nepal and were taking refuge in makeshift shelters, schools and temples, an official said Wednesday.

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