China Covid: Videos emerge of rare protests in Tibet

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Footage has emerged showing what appear to be rare large-scale protests against strict Covid-19 measures in the Tibetan regional capital, Lhasa.

Multiple videos on social media show hundreds demonstrating and clashing with police. They are said to be mostly ethnic Han Chinese migrant workers.

The city has been under lockdown for nearly three months as it battles a wave of infections.

Tibet is one of the most tightly guarded regions in China.

The protests are said to have taken place on Wednesday afternoon and stretched on till the night.

One video shows hundreds of people gathered on the streets, with officials blocking them at one end. A message calling for calm can be heard on a loudspeaker, with an official asking for people to “please be understanding and to go back”.

Another video shows scores of people on the streets at night, and a man can be heard commenting on the scene.

“[They] have been locked up for too long. And a lot of people in this community are people who have just come to work and earn money. If they could get that in mainland China, they wouldn’t have come here,” he says in Mandarin.

Yet another video showed people marching in the streets with the caption “We just want to go home”.

The BBC was unable to independently verify the videos, which have been removed from Chinese social media but reposted on Twitter.

Tibetan sources have told news outlets that protesters warned they would “set off a fire” if restrictions were not lifted – though it is not clear what this meant.

Another source said there were fears that scuffles between civilians and police officers could turn violent.

Agencies

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