Updated 11:29 AM EDT, Tue, Jun 16, 2020

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Deadly Madagascar Riot Shocks China

Madagascar Riots Shock China

(Photo : Reuters) Madagascar's President Hery Rajaonarimampianina attends the opening ceremony of the 22nd Ordinary Session of the African Union summit in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa January 30, 2014.

A riot that killed two people at a Chinese-managed sugar plant in Madagascar on Sunday has left the China embassy in the African country in shock.

The embassy said Chinese workers were moved out of the factory because of the riot. Chinese diplomats were quick to ask the Madagascar government to take proper security measures in handling the attack at the Morondava sugar plant to help improve Madagascar's international image as a safe investment haven.

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An embassy statement said the African nation's ability to attract foreign investments is at stake and it needs to show there is a good environment for cooperation with China and other countries.

The announcement was made three days following a clash between local workers and police, before the sugar plant in Morondava was looted.

The island nation's Prime Minister Roger Kolo and its industry minister, Jules Etienne Rolland, have assured the embassy steps will be taken to quell riots.

The industrial unrest began when the factory's seasonal workers sought contracts that offer bigger pay and better working conditions, according to reports.

The Chinese embassy said the labor demands were unreasonable. In November, the workers began to block access to the facility, cutting off power and water lines, destroying equipment and harassing employees.

The security forces' arrest of two labor leaders worsened the confrontation.

Two people died after hundreds of workers rushed on Wednesday to the headquarters of security authorities seeking the release of their colleagues. Police fired tear gas and live ammunition, the Madagascar Tribune reported.

Authorities said they acted in self-defense because several workers wielded machetes and guns. The workers were armed with slingshots, axes and rocks, according to the official China News Service.

The prosters then gathered at the sugar facility, carted away some of the supply and set fire to a building.

Several looters managed to carry bags of sugar on their backs or in wheelbarrows and some of the stolen stash was easily sold in the underground market, according to reports.

China ranks as Africa's top investment and trading partner, but closer economic ties have resulted in cases of deadly labor-related conflicts.

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