(Bloomberg) -- Residents in the southern Chinese manufacturing city of Guangzhou clashed with police on Tuesday night, footage posted on social media showed, the latest episode of social unrest as public anger over stringent Covid curbs simmers.
Dozens of protesters in the city’s Haizhu district can be seen throwing objects at what appear to be police in hazmat suits. Police also fire what appears to be tear gas at a group of protesters in an alley, which then fills up with white smoke.
One clip shows police with riot shields advancing on protesters, and several handcuffed men later being led away. Bloomberg News verified the location of the videos but not their full content. People who answered phone calls to police in Guangzhou and in Haizhu district declined to comment.
The area has been locked up since late last month, fueling anger among the residents, who are mostly poorer migrant workers. Protests erupted there two weeks ago, with videos showing people marching in the streets and pushing over police barriers.
Softer China Stance on Covid Emerges in Media, Official Rhetoric
The unrest in Guangzhou is the latest instance of public protests against China’s zero-tolerance approach, which erupted across major cities last weekend. There were 43 protests across 22 Chinese cities between Saturday and Monday, the Canberra-based Australian Strategic Policy Institute estimated, the most widespread show of dissent since the Tiananmen Square episode more than three decades ago.
China Vows Crackdown on ‘Hostile Forces’ Amid Covid Protests
Many people voiced anger over concerns that virus restrictions may have contributed to a deadly fire in an apartment block in the northwest Xinjiang region last week that killed 10 people and injured nine. A large police presence at protest sites since then appears to have deterred further unrest in Beijing and Shanghai.
On Tuesday, China’s top law enforcement body pledged to crack down on “hostile forces” and their “sabotage,” comments that appeared intended as a warning to protesters and to provide justification for government suppression of dissent.
©2022 Bloomberg L.P.
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