China Covid protests: Moment BBC reporter arrested caught on camera

Shocking video has emerged of a BBC cameraman being dragged away by Chinese police shouting “Call the Consulate, now!” after he was arrested while covering anti-lockdown protests.

Protests have erupted across China over a deadly fire in western China and swelling anger over Covid-19 restrictions.

Camera operator Edward Lawrence was captured in mobile phone video footage being handcuffed by four officers, pulled to his feet and marched away from the scene by men wearing high-vis vests.

The images, which appear to have been shot from an upstairs apartment, show at least four officers surrounding him in Shanghai as he struggled to stand as he was handcuffed and pushed to the ground.

A second clip shows him being marched through the streets as he shouted to a friend: “Call the consulate, now!”

Hundreds of demonstrators and police clashed in Shanghai on Sunday night amid protests over China’s Covid restrictions.

Before his arrest, the BBC cameraman took to Twitter to report that police had blocked the roads around this area and “they’re not letting people through”.

“I’m at the scene of last night’s extraordinary anti Covid-zero protest in Shanghai,’’ he wrote.

“Many people are gathered here quietly watching. Lots of cops. Two girls laid flowers which were promptly removed by police. One man drove past with middle finger up at police.

“One man has just approached me to say his flowers were confiscated by police. As he tells me this, two cops come over to listen to our conversation.

“The crowd has grown from maybe a few dozen to several hundred. I’ve seen the police arrest three people – two of whom then fought with police. There’s a silent tension until one person shouts, and then the crowd chants and claps in support.”

The Sun newspaper is reporting that British officials have spoken with Mr Lawrence and that he has since been released.

The most recent trigger for the protests was a deadly fire at an apartment block in Urumqi, the capital of the far western region of Xinjiang, which killed 10 people and injured nine.

Protesters believe that video suggests lockdown measures delayed firefighters from reaching the victims.

In one of the biggest outbreaks of protests since President Xi Jinping assumed power a decade ago, the media also reports protests in Wuhan and Chengdu.

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