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Protests break out in Lhasa against China’s lockdown

Screengrab from the video

Protests over COVID-19 restrictions in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet,  were reported in at least four different areas of the city on Thursday, according to a report by Radio Free Asia.

In some cases “scuffles” with the authorities are also reported to have taken place as ethnic Chinese migrant workers wanted the local authorities to issue then permits to return home.

RFA said that it was able to confirm that many of the protesters were ethnic majority Han Chinese migrant workers who probably had obtained permission for daily wage jobs in Lhasa.

Sources in the city, who spoke on condition of anonymity out of security concerns, said the migrant workers wanted to return to their homes in eastern China as they were not able earn any money because of the lockdown in the city over close to three months now.

Footage from one video shows a police officer requests the protesters in Mandarin Chinese to return to their homes, and tells them their concerns have been relayed to senior officials.

“Please return to your homes. Why? If you [don’t] go back and block up this area, what might happen? You’ll infect each other,” the officer says. “We’ve already reported to the higher ups, okay? Please go home,” AFR cited the police officer as saying.

On Wednesday, RFA Tibetan reported that scores of people had taken to the streets in what appeared to be Chengguan district’s Chakrong area, in eastern Lhasa, as well as the Payi area of the city, based on video obtained by sources in the region.

Some of the videos show that the crowd is quite restless and scuffling with officials.

In one of the videos, protesters appear to engage in a yelling and shoving match with authorities, while in another, a group of people appear to push a large iron gate off of its hinges.