Six million people were under Covid lockdown on Friday in a Chinese city home to the world’s largest iPhone factory, following clashes between police and workers furious over wages.
Authorities have ordered residents of eight districts in Zhengzhou, central Henan province, not to leave the area for the next five days.
There are only a handful of coronavirus infections in the city.
The orders follow protests by hundreds of workers over conditions and payments at Foxconn’s massive iPhone factory on the outskirts of the city, with new footage of meetings emerging Friday.
Video footage posted to social media and geolocated by AFP showed a large group of people walking down a street in the east of the city, some carrying signs.
“So many people”, you hear a man say. AFP was unable to verify exactly when the protests took place.
And after dozens of workers left the factory on Thursday with payouts of 10,000 yuan ($1,400) from Foxconn, reports on Chinese short video apps Douyin and Kuaishou said the Taiwanese tech giant turned down many of the thousands of people who responded to its hiring ads after a set of departures in October.
Many of those who have arrived to take new job openings at the factory are now trapped in quarantine hotels outside the factory, several workers told AFP.
“We’re in a quarantine hotel and can’t go to the Foxconn campus,” said an employee who asked to remain anonymous.
Another employee said those who were rejected were promised 10,000 yuan as compensation for forced quarantine, but only received a fraction of that amount.
“They won’t let us go to work and we can’t return home, Zhengzhou is locked down,” a worker who was forced to quarantine in the nearby city of Ruzhou after being promised a job at Foxconn told AFP.
He added that there were multiple small-scale protests in other Henan cities by Foxconn workers who were quarantined and unable to work.
The unrest in Zhengzhou comes amid mounting public frustration over the government’s zero-tolerance approach to Covid, which is forcing local authorities to impose grueling lockdowns, travel restrictions and mass testing.
With China’s daily workload of 33,000 on Friday — a record for the country of 1.4 billion — the relentless zero-Covid push has sparked sporadic protests and boosted productivity in the world’s second-largest economy.
In Guangzhou’s southeastern manufacturing center, millions of people have been ordered not to leave their homes without a negative virus test.
Social media footage published on Friday and geolocated by AFP showed residents of the city’s Haizhu district dismantling barricades and throwing objects at police in hazmat clothing.
“What are you doing? What are you doing?” a police officer holding a shield can be heard as he and his colleagues back away from the projectiles.