- Shanghai has been in lockdown for weeks due to a significant COVID-19 outbreak.
- Officials have taken over residential buildings to use them as quarantine sites.
- Videos shared on social media showed protesters clashing with police over the move.
Rare scenes of unrest emerged from Shanghai, China, after residents of a housing 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 donning personal protective equipment could be seen pushing back and detaining protesters in videos that were quickly removed from Chinese social media.
—Byron Wan (@Byron_Wan) April 14, 2022
“This is Zhangjiang, Shanghai. The police stormed the [residential] compound and dragged regular residents out,” one person can be heard saying in footage obtained by The Associated Press and Reuters. People can also be heard shouting “I beg of you!” and “Why are you holding down the elderly?”
Some were protesting the quarantine sites being so close to their homes, concerned over 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 live in a building where the blocks are only 10 meters (30 feet) apart, everyone has tested negative, and these people are allowed in?” one woman said as she filmed the protests, according to Reuters.
—Reuters (@Reuters) April 16, 2022
The company that owns the housing compound in Shanghai confirmed to Reuters that officials had taken over five vacant buildings to be used as quarantine sites and that another nine were going to be converted as well. The Zhangjiang Group said 39 tenants were moved to other areas of the compound and offered payment.
—Chen Lin (@Lin909653047) April 7, 2022
The unrest comes as Shanghai confronts a COVID-19 outbreak that has prompted mass lockdowns in the city for weeks. The city of 25 million people recorded its highest-ever daily COVID-19 case count on Thursday, with more than 27,000 cases.