TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — As Shanghai continues to enforce a strict lockdown on much of the megapolis, photos and videos surfaced on social media on Wednesday and Thursday (April 13 and 14) showing large crowds taking to the streets to protest the policy.
With over 20,000 new COVID cases reported each day in Shanghai, the government is pressing ahead with its "dynamic zero-COVID policy," which has seen forced quarantines in squalid conditions and desperate supply shortages. Many Shanghai residents have started to lose patience with the government and "unlocked" themselves from their quarantines to march in rare, large-scale protests.
Woman protests against a residential area being converted into a transfer center for COVID cases. (Twitter image)
On Wednesday and Thursday, videos went viral showing large crowds of Shanghai residents shouting at and scuffling with security guards and police. At approximately 1 p.m. on Thursday, residents from several communities in Shanghai's Pudong District were seen breaking through a barricade and gathering on Xiangnan Road in Pudong's Zhangjiang Town to protest the lockdown.
In the video, huge throngs of people can be seen gathering at the scene as they sing the Chinese national anthem and shout slogans. Some reportedly shouted, "Down with Xi Jinping, down with the Communist Party."
Protesters confronted by police in white PPE. (Twitter, lily valley images)
The government responded by dispatching armed police in white PPE to the scene to set up a cordon and drive away the crowd by force. In video of the incident, police can be seen shoving residents out of their way and people respond by holding up their phones to document the incident and can be heard shouting at the officers, "The police are hitting people," and, "You are beasts."
Earlier in the week, the Shanghai government announced that the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China had sent tens of thousands of anti-epidemic personnel to Shanghai to "assist" in fighting the pandemic.
Police and People's Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers were seen confronting the crowds, with many netizens on Twitter claiming the police officers had Mandarin accents that differed from the local Shanghai accent indicating that they had been dispatched from other parts of China.
最新消息，今天下午上海浦东新区张江镇香楠路，居民集体上街抗议，遭遇了公安的强行驱赶。 pic.twitter.com/po0pmKba3b— Long Shao(@LongShao1) April 14, 2022