Hundreds of ethnic Hui Muslim people in Luohe, Henan province, attacked the government headquarters and paralysed traffic in a protest against the local authorities' alleged mishandling of an accident in which a Hui villager was injured, a Hong Kong-based rights organisation said yesterday. The Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy quoted officials with the Luohe city government, including local traffic police, as saying that up to 1,000 Hui had laid siege to the building and blocked three of the town's four main bridges since Tuesday. The report said a Hui man, a pedestrian, was killed last month when he was hit by a bus driven by a Han Chinese. The suspect was reportedly released after several days' detention. The Luohe Public Bus Company, for which the driver worked, offered relatives of the victim 200,000 yuan (HK$227,000) in compensation. The relatives were demanding 1 million yuan. But a local source gave the South China Morning Post a different version of the accident, saying the victim, a 20-year-old Hui man, did not die. He said the victim's face was injured when a taxi, not a bus, in which the victim was a passenger and which was driven by a Han Chinese, collided with another vehicle. The victim's relatives and friends had turned to the local government for help after the taxi company refused to offer any compensation, the source said. But local authorities decided to take no action. The centre's report said rioters then took to the streets and jammed three bridges, disrupting hundreds of thousands of vehicles. It also suggested that the Hui exploited a visit to the city by leading Taiwanese politician James Soong Chu-yu to draw more attention to their grievances. An official with the Luohe government confirmed the incident yesterday, saying that the case had been settled and not one protester had showed up yesterday. Calls to the city's publicity department went unanswered. At least two of 10 people contacted by phone yesterday said some of the protesters were peasants from Jiuzhaixue village, on the outskirts of Luohe, who were disappointed with recent incidents involving land requisition. Another source said dozens of riot police in full gear had been deployed on Wednesday before officials struck an agreement with the protesters by promising to look into their demands. 'The case, it seems, has been settled and traffic is back to normal today,' the source said. One resident said that as many as 200 peasants from the same village had surrounded the headquarters of a local newspaper, saying one of its reports had wrongly depicted 'the king of pig-raising' as being a fellow villager. 'They might have been incensed by the newspaper's ignorance of their religious and cultural traditions,' he said. 'One should bear in mind that we Muslims would never raise pigs.' Conflicts involving the Han and minorities, including the Hui, Uygurs and Tibetans, are highly sensitive on the mainland. This was at least the second riot involving Hui on the mainland this year. In February, several hundred Hui Muslims clashed with Han Chinese in the Mengcun Hui Muslim Autonomous County, in Hebei province, leaving about 100 people injured, before 2,000 armed police restored order.