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The latest protests by workers in southern China's factory zone was sparked by the alleged mistreatment of a pregnant street hawker by security guards.
Police in China reportedly fired tear gas at migrant workers protesting for a third consecutive night near the southern city of Guangzhou, an important manufacturing zone.
Hong Kong television showed crowds of migrant workers from Sichuan province rampaging through the streets of Zengcheng, a town just outside Guangzhou that is a hub for textile factories and staffed by workers from other parts of China, Reuters reports.
About 1,000 protesters set fire to cars, threw bricks at police, and damaged government buildings and police cars Sunday night in Zengcheng. At least 25 people have been arrested in protests that were sparked Friday by the alleged mistreatment of a pregnant street hawker by security guards, the BBC reports.
The woman was reportedly pushed to the ground after a disagreement with security officials, who wanted her to move her stall.
On Sunday night, riot police fired tear gas and deployed armored vehicles to disperse the crowds, Reuters reports.
There has been a string of labor protests in China’s factory zones in recent years, "when young migrant workers have demanded better pay and treatment from factory managers that have long depended on cheap labor from the provinces to fill manufacturing jobs,” GlobalPost’s China correspondent Kathleen McLaughlin writes.
Other clashes have erupted in southern China in recent weeks, including in the city of Chaozhou, where 200 migrant workers demanding payment of their wages at a ceramics factory attacked government buildings and set vehicles on fire.
China's ruling Communist Party has been especially paranoid about possible threats to its power in the wake of protests in the Middle East and North Africa.
In 2007, China had over 80,000 "mass incidents," up from over 60,000 in 2006, according to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences. Most were small-scale protests against local officials over complaints about corruption, pollution and low wages.