SHANGHANG, Fujian, Sept. 18 (Xinhua) -- Protest against a battery factory suspected of causing lead pollution in east China continued Friday, as nearly 100 villagers gathered in front of the local government of Jiaoyang Township, Fujian Province.
The villagers demanded the Huaqiang Battery Factory move out of the township. The crowd dispersed during the afternoon.
Ding Yanzhi, head of the township government, said the factory has been ordered to suspend operation and efforts to clean up the environment around it were under way.
In a move to put more pressure on the local government, all the dealers at a local open fair with 192 stalls suspended their businesses Friday.
"We want the government to make the factory move out as soon as possible," said one dealer, who requested anonymity.
Ding said the local government would organize tests on blood lead levels for all children in the township.
Amid fears of lead poisoning, hundreds of children were absent from the local primary school and kindergarten Friday.
At least four children in Jiaoyang have been found to have excessive lead levels their blood, which their parents said was a result of pollution from the factory.
Officials from the governments of Longyan City and Shanghang County went to the township Thursday to talk with the villagers. But no agreement was reached.
The villagers blocked a highway for several hours Thursday morning in a protest aimed at the township government.
The county government has ordered its environmental protection bureau to beef up supervision of the plant.
The Shanghang County government said Thursday that among 72 children in Jiaoyang who had taken blood tests, four had excessive lead levels -- more than 100 mg a liter of blood, compared with the normal standard of zero to 100 mg a liter. The other 68 children had 53 to 100 mg of lead a liter of blood.