SINGAPORE — Protesters have clashed with large numbers of police over the planned demolition of a mosque’s dome in a largely-Muslim town in Yunnan, China, according to media reports.
Social media videos showed crowds outside the 13th-century Najiaying Mosque in Nagu town on Saturday.
Scuffles broke out between police and locals, who were hemmed in by hundreds of armed officers, BBC reported.
Yunnan, an ethnically-diverse province in southern China, has a significant Muslim population.
In Nagu, the Najiaying Mosque had been a key landmark and in recent years had expanded with a new domed roof, as well as a number of minarets.
However, a 2020 court judgement ruled the additions illegal, ordering them to be removed. Recent actions to carry out that order appear to have sparked the demonstrations, BBC reported.
Videos of Saturday’s protests showed lines of police blocking entry to the mosque, and group of men attempting to force their way in with some throwing rocks at police.
Other clips show the police later withdrawing, as the crowd enters Najiaying Mosque.
Police in Tonghai County, where Nagu is located, issued a statement on Sunday calling for protesters to surrender to police by 6 June. Dozens have been arrested so far., BBC reported.
“Those who voluntarily turn themselves in and truthfully confess the facts of violations and crimes may be given a lighter or mitigated punishment,” said the notice.
Calling the incident “a serious obstruction of social management order”, authorities also urged others to “actively report” protesters.
Protests in China remain relatively uncommon, but more have taken place since the pandemic where severe lockdowns and movement restrictions triggered displays of public anger, BBC reported.