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Beijing Acknowledges Protest Deaths


China has acknowledged for the first time that a clash between demonstrators and police in a southern village this week turned deadly.

The official Xinhua news agency Saturday said demonstrators at a power plant in the Guangdong provincial village of Dongzhou attacked police and threw explosives, forcing officers to open fire. Xinhua said at least three villagers were killed and several others were injured.

Witnesses to the Tuesday incident put the death toll as high as 20. They say at least 1,000 people had gathered at the power plant to protest inadequate compensation for land that the government seized for the plant's construction.

Authorities have sealed the village off, with police patrolling the streets and blocking roads leading in.

If the casualty figure of 20 is confirmed, the incident would be the largest known use of force by Chinese security personnel since the killing of hundreds around Tiananmen Square in 1989.

Some information for this report provided by AFP and AP.

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