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August 19, 2017

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Protesters calm down after violent clash over pollution

SHANGHAI--Protesters in a restive east China city remained off the streets Sunday amid heavy police deployment, residents said, a day after violent clashes over fears of pollution from a paper factory.

The coastal city of Qidong, near Shanghai, seemed calm a day after local officials announced a waste water pipeline project from the paper mill, which belongs to Japanese company Oji Paper, would be "permanently cancelled."

But it was unclear whether that would be enough to address the concerns of demonstrators who on Saturday clashed with police, overturned cars and ransacked government offices in rioting involving tens of thousands of people.

"People don't dare to go out in the streets today," said a local resident, who for safety reasons only gave her name as Qin.

"Thousands of security forces have been deployed to Qidong to prevent further gatherings against the police," she told AFP, adding that residents were wary of police retaliation after some were beaten in Saturday's protests.

Searches including "Qidong" were blocked since Saturday on Sina Weibo, China's Twitter-like service, while phone calls to local government offices went unanswered on Sunday.

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