Hundreds of villagers protested for a fourth day to denounce the toxic waste from a factory of solar panels in Haining in eastern China.
Some protesters have assaulted into the factory in addition to ransacked the offices and overturned cars , according to the authorities of Zhejiang province.
The protest was started on Thursday when 500 villagers near Hongxiao went to the factory to demand an explanation on the death of a large amount of fish in the adjacent river, said Xinhua news agency.
The villagers also claim that toxic releases from the plant caused at least 31 cases of cancer among residents, including six cases of leukemia.
A Hongxiao resident of 64 years told the press that the plant, located near a school and a daycare center, discharges its waste into the river and its dozen chimneys spitting out thick smoke.
“The villagers strongly demanded that the plant move to another area. I am very concerned about the health of younger generations,” he said.
According to Chen Hongming, Deputy Head of the Office of Environmental Affairs in Haining, this plant does not meet the standards since April. Despite warnings from the authorities, the company has never complied the rules, he said.
The plant is owned by a subsidiary of Jinko Solar Holding Co, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). The company would not comment.
For its part, the Government of Haining asked the company to suspend production and ensured that a meeting would be held between local leaders and representatives of the villagers.
In China, industrial pollution has become a major problem. The authorities are struggling to contain the anger of the people affected.
Last month, after strong protests, the authorities of the city of Dalian in the northeast of the country, have agreed to move a chemical plant.
Also Friday, the environmental authorities of Shanghai have ordered the temporary closure of two plants and started to investigate the lead poisoning of several children. One of two factories manufacturing lead-acid batteries for the U.S. firm Johnson Controls.