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Violent protests erupted in central China’s Henan province on Saturday after a drunk police officer lost control of his van and killed at least five people, according to media reports. From AFP:
People gathered to protest after police tried to take the bodies away, some of them smashing and flipping over three police cars and two vans, said the Southern Metropolis Daily, a newspaper known for investigative journalism.
One witness put the number of protestors in the thousands, but that figure could not be confirmed.
“People were angry that the police didn’t protect the scene but tried to pull the bodies away,” the witness, who declined to be named, told AFP.
She said rumours that more people had died in the accident angered the crowd, which did not disperse until early Sunday morning.
Shanghaiist posted graphic photos of the accident scene, which have appeared and triggered public outcry on microblogging service Sina Weibo. Xinhua notes that the police officer has been arrested and could receive the death penalty if convicted, though the report makes no mention of the protests.
The violence in Henan, the latest of an increasing number of “mass incidents” utilized by Chinese citizens to address various grievances, comes just days after hundreds of migrants in Zhejiang province clashed with tax collectors and police over a tax policy that has now been rescinded.