Twelve people in China have highlighted their grievances by swallowing pesticide in public and falling to the ground, frothing at the mouth, the Telegraph reports. In one incident, a group of seven people from Jiangsu province (all from the same family, says the Daily Mail) went outside a newspaper office in Beijing Wednesday morning and drank the pesticide. One told a journalist from the state-run paper that they were protesting against local officials who had thrown them off their property and destroyed their home five years ago. They received little or no compensation, depending on which report you read.
"We had no other option but to resort to this to make ourselves heard," said the wife of a 58-year-old protester. "We’ve been driven to homelessness. We’ve been driven into a corner—the government gave us no way out." She said her husband had gone to Nanjing to protest and was tossed into an illegal "black jail" for three days without sleep, food, or water. In another incident, five protesters came to Beijing and drank pesticide over a complaint that wasn't reported. Among the first protesters, four are still in life-threatening condition, but nothing is known of the latter five. Petitioning goes back centuries in China, where millions of people travel to Beijing every year to voice grievances, but rarely make headway with officials.