China's Qidong pipeline protest ends with guilty pleas

Local residents stand on smashed cars as they occupy the local government building during a protest against an industrial waste pipeline under construction in Qidong
Image caption Huge crowds gathered to protest against the pipeline project

Fourteen people have pleaded guilty to charges of "encouraging mass violence" during a protest in the city of Qidong, Chinese state media say.

Government offices were stormed as thousands of people demonstrated against a proposed waste water pipeline project in July 2012.

The project, which local people said would pollute coastal waters, was subsequently scrapped.

Defendants would be sentenced at a later date, Xinhua news agency said.

The protest was one of a series of high-profile incidents in which local people have objected to development or industrial projects on environmental grounds.

In Qidong, the pipeline was proposed by a paper-making company.

As thousands of people turned out, the local Communist Party chief and the mayor were stripped of their shirts by angry protesters who wanted them to wear T-shirts bearing an anti-pollution slogan.

The 14 defendants were tried on Wednesday. Prosecutors said their "violent behaviour caused property losses, injured police officers and severely disrupted public order", Xinhua reported.

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