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Over 200 reported detained in Lhasa for role in Covid lockdown protests

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(TibetanReview.net, Nov03’22) – Chinese police in Tibet’s capital Lhasa have detained in a large multi-storied building more than 200 people accused of being leaders or otherwise frontline participants in the Oct 26 protests in the city against the draconian, still ongoing three-month-long Covid lockdown measures, reported the Tibetan-language tibettimes.net Nov 2, citing local sources.

The protests, involving hundreds of emotionally charged people, mainly migrant workers from China, took place in several parts of the city, with the participants shouting slogans.

Most of the protesters were stated to have been Chinese residents of Gyechig Lam (Road) and the Chagrong area of the Lhasa Municipal District area, with some being Tibetans from other parts of Tibet.

Some videos of the protests posted on online social media accounts were stated to show a large body of the paramilitary People’s Armed Police force personnel trying to stop the protests, although they were not seen using violence or making arrests. Plain-clothes police were also stated to be deployed.

The report cited some local residents as saying that on Oct 27, notices were sent, asking those from outside the city desirous of returning home to register their names. As many of them did so, the authorities took into custody more than 200 of them, accusing them of being leaders or frontline participants in the protests. Those detained were stated to be residents of Dhogde Market street and Ngachen Market areas. And they were stated to have been locked up in a large, multi-stories building belonging to the Tibet Autonomous Region housing development department.

The report cited a Tibetan woman residing in Lhasa as saying in a social media posting that the authorities had initially announced that the Covid lockdown in the city would be lifted on Oct 7, but this was later postponed to Oct 16. Again, this was postponed, to Oct 26, but still not carried out, apparently resulting in the protests.

For the past three months, minus three days, those from outside the city in lockdown quarantine had been paying 80 yuan per day for their hotel accommodation and many had run out of money. Many of them were migrant workers who were in good health when they first came to look for work but now could only return home sick, with the support of crutches, the report cited a Lhasa resident as saying in her social media posting.

The report said that in another social media posting, a worker had complained bitterly about being without work for the past nearly three months, being not granted any concession in daily expenses, and having now run out of whatever he or she had earned earlier on.

Authorities in Lhasa were stated to have agreed to let those eligible to return home while relaxing a bit the severity of the lockdown measures which otherwise still continues.

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