Hundreds of employees at Apple’s biggest iPhone plant in China reportedly clashed with security personnel in a protest early Wednesday amid growing tensions over restrictions intended to suppress a COVID-19 outbreak.
More than 100 workers at the Foxconn plant were seen leaving their dormitories and pushing past outnumbered guards in videos sent by eyewitnesses to Bloomberg. One clip showed several people wearing what appeared to be white haz-mat suits striking a man on the ground with sticks, while another shows people charging through barricades as onlookers chanted “fight, fight!”
The protest erupted overnight over unpaid wages and fear of an infectious outbreak at the plant, a witness said. Several workers were injured in the melee before riot police restored order. The videos, which were broadcast live on the Kuaishou short video platform, couldn’t immediately be verified by CNET.
Foxconn, which employs about 200,000 people, is Apple’s biggest iPhone maker, producing about 70% of iPhone shipments globally.
The violence underscores the growing tension at the Zhengzhou plant since the latest lockdown began in October. Many workers have fled the plant in recent weeks over frustrations about how the outbreak was handled and insufficient food rations.
Apple and Foxconn representatives didn’t immediately respond to request for comment.