Videos show rare scenes of unrest in China as protesters clash with police over COVID-19 measures

Rare scenes of unrest have emerged from Shanghai, China, after residents of a building complex clashed with police on Thursday over COVID-19 measures.

Residents were begging police to let them stay in their apartments, which were located in buildings that authorities were co-opting to be used as COVID-19 quarantine sites, the Financial Times reported.

Police wearing personal protective equipment could be seen pushing back and detaining protesters in videos that were quickly removed from Chinese social media.

“This is Zhangjiang, Shanghai. The police stormed the [residential] made up and dragged regular residents outside,” one person can be heard saying in footage obtained by The Associated Press and Reuters. People can also be heard shouting “I beg you! and “Why do you retain the elderly?”

Some were protesting the proximity of quarantine sites to their homes, concerned about a potentially increased risk of exposure to the virus, Reuters reported.

“It’s not that I don’t want to cooperate with the country, but how would you feel if you lived in a building where the blocks are only 10 meters (30 feet) apart, everyone tested negative, and these people are allowed in?” said a woman while filming the protests, according to Reuters.

The company that owns the housing complex in Shanghai confirmed to Reuters that authorities had taken over five vacant buildings for use as quarantine sites and that nine others were also to be converted. The Zhangjiang Group said 39 tenants had been moved to other areas of the compound and offered payment.

Othervideoswhich appeared to show mass protests in Shanghai have also surfaced on social media, although it is unclear when they were taken.

The unrest comes as Shanghai grapples with a COVID-19 outbreak that has caused mass lockdowns in the city for weeks. The city of 25 million people recorded its highest number of daily COVID-19 cases on Thursday, with more than 27,000 cases.

John C. Dent