Protests spread in Lhasa over Covid restrictions

Many of the protesters are ethnic majority Han Chinese migrant workers, who likely obtained permission to reside in Lhasa for jobs that pay daily wages, RFA reported.

Sources in the city, who spoke on condition of anonymity out of security concerns, said that the migrant workers have been demanding that local authorities issue them permits to return to their homes in eastern China because they have been unable to earn a living during the nearly three months of lockdown in the city, the report said.

In the footage from one video obtained late on Wednesday, a man claiming to be a police officer could be seen pleading with the protesters in Mandarin to return to their homes, saying their concerns have been relayed to senior officials.

On Wednesday, 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 videos obtained by sources in the region.

By Thursday, the protests had spread to include the districts of Lhalu and Kuang Ye, with newly obtained video footage showing crowds growing more restless. In one such video, protesters appeared to engage in a yelling and shoving match with the authorities, while in another, a group of people appear to push a large iron gate off of its hinges, RFA reported.

Sangay Kyab, a Tibet expert based in Spain, told RFA that Chinese authorities likely did not resort to violence to crack down on the protests in Lhasa because they were related to Covid restrictions, and because Beijing doesn’t want the situation to escalate.

Sakar Tashi, a Belgium-based China and Tibet watcher, took it a step further, suggesting that the authorities wouldn’t have responded as peacefully to a protest held exclusively by Tibetans.

“Han people in Lhasa protested against the epidemic control policy. Tibetans are also involved. Most who led & participated were Han — if it were Tibetans, it would have been bloodily suppressed long ago,” he wrote in a Twitter post.

Reports of the protests in Lhasa — believed to be the largest in the city in more than a dozen years — came days after the government of the Tibet Autonomous Region issued a statement announcing that a harsh Covid-19 lockdown in Lhasa would be “loosened”.

The lockdown in Lhasa began in early August as Covid numbers there and throughout China continued to climb, RFA reported.

Lhasa residents have said on social media that the lockdown order came without enough time to prepare, leaving some short on food, and making it difficult for those infected with the virus to find adequate treatment.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by FreshersLIVE.Publisher : IANS-Media

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