The Communist Party secretary and the mayor of Dingzhou city in Hebei have been dismissed after protesting farmers were attacked by thugs. Several hundred people, armed with various weapons, descended on Shengyou village on Saturday and attacked farmers who had refused to surrender their land to a factory. Six villagers died and more than 100 were hurt. The Beijing News reported that one armed attacker was killed, but this could not be confirmed. An Organisation Department member in Baoding yesterday said both party secretary He Feng and mayor Guo Zhenguang had been dismissed and an acting mayor had been named. The official declined to say why the leaders were dismissed. About 300 villagers had been camping in makeshift shelters on 25 hectares to prevent the land from being occupied by the Guohua Dingzhou Electronics Factory. Villagers said the factory had not offered acceptable compensation in return for land-use rights. The new municipal leadership visited Dingzhou People's Hospital yesterday morning and gave 2,000 yuan to each villager who had been admitted. Niu Chengluan, who had leg wounds and a broken finger, said officials had told patients not to worry about medical costs. Some villagers are still refusing to move out of their shelters.