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Protest over incinerator turns violent in China; dozens injured, highway blocked

A protest in eastern China over a plan to build a waste incinerator turned violent with state media reporting at least 10 demonstrators and 29 police injured in clashes.

State-run Xinhua News Agency said 30 vehicles were overturned as protesters on Saturday set two police cars on fire and blocked a highway linking Hanzhou with another city. One protester and a policeman have been reported seriously injured.

A woman who said she lives 1 kilometer (less than 1 mile) from the proposed incinerator site told The Associated Press on Sunday that thousands of people turned out for the protest, which followed government assurances that the project would not pose a health threat. The woman refused to reveal her name.

She said protesters did not return Sunday as police were heavily guarding the area.

"The people here worry that this plant will impact our health and environment," she said. "We just hope it doesn't get too close to our houses or our village."

An online statement posted by the district government said construction on the incinerator would not begin until the project had won public support.

The city's law enforcement authorities said on their Weibo social media account that protesters who had committed vandalism or other crimes and surrendered could receive more lenient punishment.

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Associated Press news assistant Henry Hou contributed to this report.