Police injure pregnant woman, strikers claim

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 11 December, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 11 December, 2011, 12:00am

Clashes broke out as police moved in to help a Hitachi-affiliated factory in Shenzhen move products out of its warehouse, which was surrounded by protesting workers as their sit-in moved into its seventh day.

About 20 workers at the Hailiang Storage Products warehouse in Nanshan district were injured and dozens more were briefly detained when riot police moved to end the strike.

The injured included a pregnant woman, who was sent to hospital, fellow workers said.

Riot police marched to the factory at dawn to evict more than 300 workers who had stayed up all night to guard the warehouse and prevent goods leaving. Workers said colleagues who refused police orders to leave were assaulted with batons and taken into custody.

The injured woman, who was about four or five months pregnant, was among those hit by the riot police, according to the workers. She was treated in Xili People's Hospital.

'The police at first shoved us to make us leave, then used their batons to hit us on the head,' said a woman who did not want to be named.

After the raid, 22 police vehicles parked around the corner from the company in the northern part of a hi-tech industrial park yesterday morning. About 30 riot policemen were surrounded by angry workers who accused them of hitting their pregnant colleague.

Police released the strikers without charge later in the morning but warned them not to get involved with the demonstration again, the workers said.

The goods were shipped at 6.40am, a worker who had guarded the warehouse said.

Sara Wang, spokeswoman for Hailiang Storage, acknowledged that police had been involved in a conflict with employees while helping the company maintain order.

'The company has taken this issue seriously and took injured employees to Xili People's Hospital. After check-ups, the hospital confirmed that fewer than 20 workers had bruises, and there was no pregnant woman among them,' she said.

Hundreds of workers of the Hitachi affiliate started the strike at their plant last Sunday evening over what they claim was uncertainty about wages and job security after the company was acquired by Western Digital. It was the latest in a series of industrial and land disputes in Guangdong province this year.

Workers yesterday vowed to continue the strike.

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