Protest in China ends in violence

Protest in China ends in violence

Protest in China ends in violence

Updated 31 March 2012, 1:30 AEDT

Police reportedly fired tear gas in violent clashes with protesters who had blocked a key railway in eastern China, in the latest case of rising social unrest in the country.

Witnesses said thousands of protesters and onlookers gathered on Wednesday at the main railway station in Guixi township, Jiangxi province, to demonstrate against a pending merger of their town with a larger city.

AFP news agency says, China's government-controlled press also reported the incident, but said there were around 200 protesters and did not make any reference to the violent clashes.

Train services between financial hub Shanghai in China's east coast and Kunming, capital of the southwestern province of Yunnan, were not restored for about six hours.

Scores of passenger and freight trains were delayed but local officials declined to give an estimate for economic losses.

Both the state press and locals said calm has returned to the town.