BEIJING, China - Authorities in a southwestern Chinese city say police have released three people detained earlier this week for throwing flower pots, bricks and stones at officers during protests against an alloy copper plant project.
The Shifang city government in Sichuan province also announced late Thursday that a higher-level official was appointed as the city's first party chief, a leadership change that may indicate further investigation.
Police detained 27 people but freed 21 of them by Tuesday. Three remain in custody suspected of smashing and overturning police vehicles during the protests.
Thousands of local residents — concerned over the copper project's environmental and health risks — started to gather in public venues Sunday. The protests turned violent when riot police moved in Monday. Authorities have since scrapped plans for the project.