A huge group of irate Chinese bank depositors clashed with police on Monday, with some being beaten as they were carried away, in a case that has attracted attention because of earlier attempts to prevent them from mobilizing by using a COVID-19 tracking program.
As they assault the mob, plainclothes security personnel are pummeled with water bottles and other objects, as seen on video by a protester.
On the wide steps of the entrance to a branch of China's central bank in the city of Zhengzhou in Henan province, around 620 kilometers (380 miles) southwest of Beijing, hundreds of protesters displayed banners and chanted slogans.
Later social media videos depict an undetermined number of protestors being pushed forward and down stairs by security crews wearing plain white or black T-shirts. Police in Zhengzhou city and Henan province did not answer their phones.
The demonstrators are among the tens of thousands of clients who opened accounts at six rural banks in the provinces of Henan and Anhui, which offered higher interest rates.
After media reports that the head of the bank's parent firm was on the run and is wanted for financial crimes, they were unable to withdraw their funds.
"We came today to get our savings back since I have old people and kids at home, and the inability to withdraw savings has had a significant impact on my life," said a woman from Shandong province, who offered only her surname, Zhang, for fear of retaliation.
The misuse of the COVID-19 tracking application escalated a previously local problem into a nationwide incident last month.
Numerous individuals who traveled to Zhengzhou to demand action from regulators discovered that their health status on the app had turned red, barring them from going.
Some reported being questioned by authorities about their reason for visiting the city after checking into their hotel. Five Zhengzhou officials were subsequently penalized.
Before sunrise on Sunday, the protesters gathered in front of the People's Bank of China building in Zhengzhou.
In videos captured in the early morning darkness, police trucks with flashing lights are seen. Zhang stated that police cordoned off the roadway about 8:00 a.m. and began amassing on the opposite side.
In addition to uniformed police, there were squads of men wearing T-shirts. A financial regulator and a local government representative arrived, but their attempts to address the throng were drowned out by the roar of the mob.