Riots In Luzhou After Traffic Cops Beat A Driver To Death [UPDATE]
They’re rioting again in Sichuan province. Tea Leaf Nation reports that yesterday evening, an anti-police protest turned violent after three police officers beat a driver to death in broad daylight in front of several witnesses. (Someone at the scene began filming after the driver was killed; the video is embedded here — no matter who you are, it has to be disconcerting to see yourself surrounded by dozens, then hundreds, then possibly thousands of people who are looking for any reason to vent.) Via TLN:
The amassed crowd then turned violent, overturning police cars and setting them on fire. Police responded with tear gas and the arrest of an unspecified number of people.
Earlier this summer, large-scale protests over a copper factory broke out in Sichuan’s Shifang, lasting several days. We’ll see how long these new protests, which has sent Weibo twittering, will last.
TLN again (where you’ll find more pictures like the following):
Other users claiming to be on the scene have chimed in as well. One wrote that angry protesters did not permit the police to remove the corpse from the scene. Another confirmed the violence, writing that Luzhou would “soon be famous.” Another user had this vivid account:
“I just got home … There’s still rioting outside. My mom said it’s gotten very aggressive, she said she saw with her own eyes police being chased from the scene, with their riot helmets falling off. Some girls picked up the riot helmets and used them to smash cars. I heard what sounded like gunshots, perhaps they were warning shots from the police.” One can only hope they were merely warnings.
UPDATE, 11:52 pm: Via Global Times, here’s an alternate account of events:
“Please do not believe the rumors. The driver died of an acute disease during the law enforcement process when he was told by the traffic police to remove his truck from the middle of a road. We promise to investigate the case and provide people the truth,” the district head was quoted by a witness as saying to the crowd with a loudspeaker.
At least four cop cars were turned over. Apparently the riots lasted only until 11 pm.
Riot cops called in: