BEIJING (AP) — A dozen central Chinese city residents protesting the demolition of their homes have drunk pesticide in Beijing in a desperate bid for attention that underscores the failures of a decades-old petitioning system.

Wang Yuping says he’s among the residents from Hubei province who survived but required treatment for poisoning after drinking pesticide Tuesday near a historic watchtower in the heart of China’s capital.

Forty-year-old Wang said Wednesday that the petitioners have been unsuccessfully seeking redress since 2010 for the razing of their homes by local authorities who provided little or no compensation.

Wang said they felt they had no other options available to them.

Petitioners sometimes resort to extreme measures when their grievances are unsolved for years, and they routinely suffer beatings and illegal detentions.