Police in southern China have detained 22 people after demonstrators forced their way into a high-speed rail station in a protest about land and housing issues, state news agency Xinhua has said, Reuters reports. Residents of Mazha village in Guangdong province entered the station platform just after 8 p.m. EDT on Thursday, causing the train to depart 30 minutes late, Xinhua said late on Friday.
The protesters were quickly cleared away by police, who detained 22 for blocking the train and damaging public and private property, it said. Xinhua cited residents as saying the protesters stormed the station “as a stunt to draw the attention of senior officials to issues with land, money, irrigation and housing in Mazha”.
“Large areas of land were sold cheaply, and many villagers were never properly compensated,” one villager told Xinhua. The government has been trying to settle the dispute since September, but villagers have continued to stage protests, the report said. About 90,000 “mass incidents” – a euphemism for protests – occur each year in China, triggered by corruption, pollution, illegal land grabs and other grievances.