Thousands of Chinese people got involved in a violent clash which erupted on a bridge connecting Hubei province and the neighbouring Jiangxi province on Friday, March 27 a few days after China relaxed the Coronavirus lockdown in the region.
At least five police officials from Jiangxi side were injured during the clashes, while some protesters who had turned out to support Hubei police upended a police van. As per the reports, the protesters gathered on the bridge also destroyed other equipment belonging to Jiangxi officers including walkie-talkies.
Violent clashes in China
A Hubei resident surnamed Li told RFA that it was a clash between two groups on the bridge across the Yangtze River leading to Jiujiang in Xiaochi township, Huangmei County, Hubei. The eyewitness also mentioned that "A police car from Jiujiang was overturned and the riot police were sent in as backup."
As per the eyewitness, the fight started at around 8 am on Friday and the face-off was still going on at 4 pm local time. The incident occurred after travel restrictions on Hubei, where the Coronavirus outbreak emerged in December 2019 and its capital Wuhan were lifted more than two months later the emergence of the epidemic.
Jiangxi police at a checkpoint on the bridge allowed a group of migrant workers stranded during the lockdown to pass, but they refused to allow Hubei residents to get through. After fights started on the bridge, Jiangxi police sent in riot police to seal off the entrance to Jiujiang.
Video evidence of riot in China
It should be noted that travel restrictions were lifted on Thursday, March 26 by the Hubei provincial epidemic control command centre, although some precautions were to remain in place.
However, after the Friday incident videos were circulated on social media platforms which showed overturned police vehicles. The captured footages also showed fights between people and police officers after authorities in Jiangxi blocked entry to people travelling from Hubei. In one of the videos, it showed that a local official addressing the crowds through a megaphone. But it was not clear whether his message was well-received or not.
A local resident told media that in the past few months he has seen people from Hubei were being denied entry to places across China, including accommodation in hotels and guesthouses. Around five million people are believed to have left Wuhan soon after the lockdown was imposed in January and many Chinese people have complained about mistreatment in other parts of the country.
The unnamed source revealed that "All the other provinces are discriminating against people from Hubei right now; stopping them from coming in. Everyone has been cheering Wuhan and Hubei during the epidemic, but they are very discriminatory towards them when they try to travel to where they are, and demand that they be isolated."