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COVID-19 protests escalate in Guangzhou as China lockdown anger boils

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People in China’s southern manufacturing hub of Guangzhou clashed with white hazmat-suited riot police on Tuesday night, videos on social media showed, as frustration with stringent COVID-19 rules three years into the pandemic boiled over.
The clashes marked an escalation from protests in the commercial hub of Shanghai, capital Beijing and other cities over the weekend in mainland China’s biggest wave of civil disobedience since President Xi Jinping took power a decade ago.
In one video circulating on Twitter, dozens of riot police in all-white pandemic gear, holding shields over their heads, are seen advancing in formation over what appeared to be torn down lockdown barriers as objects fly at them.
Police are later seen escorting a row of people in handcuffs to an unknown location.
A separate video shows people throwing hard objects at the police, while a third shows a tear gas canister landing in the middle of a small crowd on a narrow street, with people then running in all directions to escape the smoke.
Reuters verified that the videos were filmed in Guangzhou’s Haizhu district, but could not determine the exact sequence of events and what sparked the clashes.
Social media posts said the clashes took place on Tuesday night and were caused by a dispute over lockdown curbs.
The government of Guangzhou, a city hard-hit in the latest wave of infections, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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