This video shows thousands of residents, including police, marching across a bridge in China’s coronavirus epicentre Hubei Province and clashing with border police in a neighbouring city as lockdown measures are lifted.
Footage of the dramatic incident shows large crowds from Huangmei County, which is in Huanggang City in China’s central Hubei Province, walking across the First Yangtze River Bridge on 27th March.
But they shout and protest as they are met by a large blockade set up by armed border police with riot shields, sent from the neighbouring city of Jiujiang, Jiangxi Province.
According to reports, officials from both sides could not agree on how best to screen each Hubei resident hoping to finally leave the locked-down province after two months.
Disagreements in procedural policies led to clashes among police too, with uniformed officers seen scuffling during the fracas which saw police vehicles overturned.
The protests stopped when Ma Yanzhou, Communist Party Chief of Huangmei County, shouted both sides down with a loudhailer, urging residents to go home while officials sit down to discuss the best way forward for desperate Hubei residents.
The governments of Huangmei and Jiujiang released a joint statement on 28th March, saying there would no longer be checkpoints and documents checks on the bridge.
Jiujiang People’s Government insisted yesterday (29th March) it was “trying to block the virus, not the movement of people.”
On 25th March, all cities in Hubei apart from capital Wuhan rescinded lockdown orders for the first time in two months.
Wuhan, the epicentre of the COVID-19 outbreak, is set to reopen its borders on 8th April.
However, tensions remain high as residents of Hubei are released from more than 60 days in isolation, only to find Chinese businesses discriminating against them based on their province of origin.
According to reports, many outside the province still fear they may be carrying the highly infectious pathogen with them.
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