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A protest in Nanjing for severance compensation has become a first mass demonstration against inflation in China, according to Ming Pao, a Hong Kong-based newspaper.
Over a thousand police attempted to stop the protest and clashed with thousands of protesters on May 12 which reportedly resulted in many injuries. Ming Pao said local authorities were unable to confirm the incident when approached for comment.
The protesters were employees of Hua Fei Color Display Systems, which went out of business earlier this year because of the increasing popularity of LCD TVs. According to the protesters, the company had unilaterally decided to compensate each laid-off worker to the amount of 2,960 yuan (US$455) for each year they had worked at the company. This offer was rejected by workers, who called for negotiations but without response.
"We are living at the bottom and have nothing to lose," a protester said claiming that they would fight to the very end.
Hua Fei Color Display had around 7,000 employees. According to Ming Pao, about 1,500 policemen were sent to block the protest.