Wild protests in Canton – the city eases the covid restrictions

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Footage and images that have escaped the extensive censorship apparatus show protests that broke out in Canton (Guangzhou) in southern China on Tuesday evening and continued overnight into Wednesday. In a film clip, around ten men can be seen being abducted with cable ties around their wrists.

A witness told AFP that he saw around 100 police officers take to the streets in a neighborhood in the southern part of the city. He then saw how three men were arrested.

After the dissatisfaction, on Wednesday both Canton and the industrial city of Chongqing announced that they will now ease the covid restrictions somewhat, reports Reuters. But with a record number of cases in China, the country still seems to be far from abandoning the zero-covid policy, writes Reuters.

Unusually comprehensive

The protests that broke out in many parts of China this weekend are directed against the authorities’ draconian covid restrictions. These are the most widespread protests seen in China since the pro-democracy demonstrations in Tiananmen Square in 1989.

The crowds have been relatively large, given how rare public protests are in China. In some quarters, there have been calls for the resignation of the increasingly powerful President Xi Jinping and criticism of the communist regime. Such statements could result in a prison sentence.

The authorities have tried to curb the development of events, above all by suppressing all information about what is happening.

Sporadic protests

The government’s zero tolerance towards covid-19 means that single cases of infection have led to enormous amounts of people being isolated in their homes.

Zero tolerance also applies to public protests. In several major cities rocked by rallies this weekend, such as Beijing and Shanghai, police have been deployed on a large scale to patrol and prevent further protests.

Hundreds of police cars and reinforced vehicles have taken their places along major streets in major cities, according to the AP. Police conduct random identity checks and demand to look through people’s phones.

The Communist Party will act with force, announced the committee within the party’s Central Committee, which effectively controls China’s police and security forces.

“We must resolutely crack down on infiltration and sabotage activities by hostile forces in accordance with the law, resolutely crack down on illegal and criminal acts that disrupt social order, and effectively ensure overall social stability,” reads the statement from the committee of the Central Committee .