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China: Violent unrest in Guangzhou following Covid restrictions

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Rare violent protests have broken out in one of China’s largest cities as frustrated locals push back against onerous Covid-19 lockdowns.

China has some of the harshest Covid restrictions in the world and still clings to a goal of eliminating the disease.

However, the country is seeing a rise in cases with 648 daily new infections announced on Tuesday in the southern Guangdong province that borders Hong Kong.

On Monday, crowds of people in Guangzhou, the largest city in Guangdong, were seen pushing over barriers designed to keep them in place, marching through the streets and upturning vehicles.

The protests followed attempts by authorities to cordon off the compound of a textile factory in the Haizhu district locking workers inside. It’s one of at least five flare-ups related to Covid restrictions in separate areas of the city.

According to Hong Kong newspaper the South China Morning Post (SCMP) the demonstrations were led by migrant workers who had been in the compound.

Some workers have said they have no money as they cannot work and are lacking in food and medicine.

There are fears the entire city of Guangzhou – which has 15 million residents – could be locked down.

Social media posts showed hundreds of workers breaking down barriers and ignoring checkpoints. In some cases, reported the SCMP, “fist fights” broke out between locals and medical staff in protective clothing.

Other videos showed staff in hazmat suits looking on as protesters stream around them.

Talking to the newspaper, local woman Maria said the fracas began at around 8.45pm on Monday in the compound which she overlooked.

“The whole area was overwhelmed with yells from upstairs to downstairs.

“After a while, people began to gather, violently beating the corrugated iron fences [around the compound] and smashed the checkpoint. Then many volunteers and police headed towards them.”

She said the uprising was relatively short lived and within the hour armed police had restored order.

Nonetheless, protests in China against strict lockdown measures appear to becoming more frequent as people fear they will be locked down for longer.

The BBC has reported that the anger has also been fuelled by unsubstantiated Covid rumours including that testing companies are faking positive results in order to get paid more and that the Government might let the virus spread unchecked within locked down communities to see its effects.

Many Chinese people are fearful of contracting Covid-19 after years of being told by the Government that extreme measures are needed to control it and seeing pictures from overseas earlier in the pandemic of full hospitals.

Two weeks ago, workers at a factory making Apple iPhones in Zhengzhou staged a mass breakout with mammy walking back to their home towns and villages rather than risk being locked down.

Read related topics:China

Story Credit: news.com.au

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