Workers were beaten and arrested after clashes with security forces outside the huge Foxconn factory in China.
Workers at the world’s largest iPhone factory protested wage and anti-virus controls introduced to curb a surge in coronavirus infections.
Videos shot at the factory in downtown Zhengzhou show thousands of people in masks facing rows of police officers in white suits with plastic shields.
Police kicked and punched a protester after he grabbed hold of a metal bar that hit him.
The Foxconn factory, responsible for making 70 percent of the world’s iPhones, employs more than 200,000 workers but is often criticized for its working conditions.
Over the past month, thousands of workers have walked out following virus cases due to complaints about unsafe conditions.
Now frustration over restrictions in areas across China has turned into protests. Videos posted to social media show residents tearing down barricades erected to enforce neighborhood closures.
According to Li Sanshan, an employee at the plant, Foxconn changed conditions for new workers lured to the site by offers of higher wages.
Li said he quit his catering job in response to advertisements promising 25,000 yuan (£3,000) for two months’ work.
Li, 28, said workers were upset when they were told they would have to work for another two months at reduced wages to get the 25,000 yuan.
“Foxconn made very tempting hiring offers and employees came from all over the country only to find out they had been duped,” Li told the Associated Press.
Foxconn denied online comments that workers with the virus were living in dormitories at the Zhengzhou factory. Facilities were disinfected and inspected by the government before workers moved in.
“The company will continue to communicate with employees and the government about acts of violence to prevent similar incidents from happening again,” the company said in a statement.
Foxconn previously said its Zhengzhou plant uses “closed-loop management,” meaning workers live incommunicado at their workplace.
The protest came as thousands of workers gathered in front of the dormitories and faced factory guards, Li said.
Other videos showed protesters spraying fire extinguishers at police.
A man posing as the Communist Party secretary in charge of municipal services was shown in a video posted on the Sina Weibo social media platform urging protesters to back down. He assured them that their demands would be met.
Meanwhile, Apple has warned that deliveries of its new iPhone 14 model will be delayed due to factory disease checks.
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