There are reports that “lockdown enforcers” have been arrested due to an excessive use of force.
Chinese under the Covid lockdown in the city of Guangzhou are now protesting restrictions. Recently, the video shows protesters tearing down barriers meant to confine them to their homes and taking to the streets in defiance of zero-covid policies.
Some of the images show large crowds cheering and surging across toppled barriers and filling streets after dark in the city’s Haizhu district, which has been under an increasingly restrictive lockdown since November 5, as the epicenter of the city’s ongoing Covid outbreak.
The clanging sound of metal barriers falling reverberates across the neighborhood and mingles with cheers in the footage, in scenes multiple social media users said took place late Monday evening on district streets.
In one video, Covid workers in protective medical wear can be seen standing on the sidelines as barriers fall, while trying to speak with people on the streets. “They’re revolting,” a woman’s voice is heard saying in the background of one of the videos. CNN has geolocated the images to Haizhu district, but could not independently confirm them.
It is not clear how many people were involved in the protest, or how long it lasted. Related posts were swiftly scrubbed from the Chinese internet by censors.
The protests are in response to the severe, continued restrictions the Chinese are enduring in a vital area critical to manufacturing.
The district has been placed under strict stay-at-home measures to curb the spread of coronavirus, with Guangzhou recording more than 5,000 new cases in one day.
People have been told to visit their nearest testing station, but otherwise to stay indoors, the district government announced on its social media account.
Across the area, residents have also been told only one member of each household is allowed out to buy food.
Tensions have been building recently as rumors spread about testing and other areas being freed from covid-zero rules.
[Guangzhou] is home to many poorer itinerant labourers. They have complained of not being paid if they are unable to turn up for work, and of food shortages and skyrocketing prices while living under Covid control measures.
For several nights, they’d been tussling with the white-clad Covid prevention enforcement officials, and then overnight on Monday the anger suddenly exploded onto the streets of Guangzhou with a mass act of defiance.
Again, unsubstantiated rumours have played a role. Stories have spread that the testing companies are faking PCR results to artificially boost the number of infections in order to make more money.
In the north of the country, the coronavirus rumour mill is also building pressure.
Officials in Hebei Province announced that the city of Shijiazhuang would halt mass testing. But this led to speculation that the population was going to be used, guinea-pig-style, to monitor what would happen if the virus was allowed to spread unchecked.
There are reports that “lockdown enforcers” have been arrested due to excessive use of force.
Officials ordered the arrests of nine lockdown enforcers in the Shandong province who had beaten a resident, who refused to comply with orders, after a video captured the incident and went viral online.
The local police said they arrested the workers for using “excessive force.”
“The public security force will severely crack down on illegal and criminal acts that infringe upon citizens’ personal safety and other legitimate rights and interests in accordance with the law, and spare no effort to maintain social harmony and stability,” the police said in a statement.
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