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Chinese Police Clamp Down on Tibetan Mining Protest

FILE - Dead fish are seen at a pond on the outskirts of Wuhan, Hubei province, April 21, 2009. Another massive fish kill in China has sparked a Tibetan protest against mining operations.

A line of Chinese riot police marched through a Tibetan protest against mining operations this week in Lhagang township, Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan province.

Cellphone video circulated online captures the sound of people wailing Wednesday at the site of a mass fish kill, purportedly caused by the mining operation that Chinese police had come to guard.

"This is how things are — the nation's military is sent [on us] to crack down on us," said one man whose face is not visible.

WATCH: Activists Protest Mining Operations

Footage: Activists Protest Mining Operations
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"This is how things are, brothers and sisters of Tibetans," said another. "This is what Chinese do!"

Locals gathered Wednesday after a massive number of fish were found dead in the Lichu River, a tributary of the Yangtze River.

Exiled Tibetans tell VOA that their local contacts say the fish kill occurred after a Chinese company restarted lithium-mining operations in the area. Mining at the location had been postponed since 2013, after an official investigation linked pollution from the operation with a mass die-off of aquatic life.

Pollution at the site also triggered a die-off of fish and some domestic animals in 2011, prompting protests.

In 2014, three civilians petitioned Beijing to issue a ruling on the incidents, asking officials to ban mining in the area.

The same mining company involved in all three incidents reportedly returned to the area April 11.

This report was produced in collaboration with VOA's Tibetan Service.