Retrenched workers appear to have clashed with riot police at a pharmaceutical plant in China’s southwest on the weekend, according to footage and posts on Chinese social media. One video showed people throwing traffic cones, boxes and stools at police carrying riot shields, Reuters reported, while another video showed dozens of protesters chanting “return our money”. According to social media accounts, the protest erupted in Chongqing on Saturday after workers were laid off without notice at a plant in Dadukou district operated by Covid test kit manufacturer Zybio. Some accounts said the protests were related to wages while others said they were about lay-offs. One internet user who claimed to be a temporary worker at the factory said in an online post that workers were asked to leave the production line on Friday morning and assemble at a square, where they were told to leave early for their Lunar New Year holidays. When asked about their wages, they were told they would be distributed within days but only to workers with a contract. She said workers contacted their recruitment agencies but did not get satisfactory answers. Thousands of people were in the area and started to destroy antigen test supplies and finished products, the worker said. Riot police were later sent in to control the crowd and recruitment agencies called to handle the crisis, with some increasing their payment to the workers, the worker wrote. Agence France-Presse quoted one protester identified as “Marxist-Leninist-Maoist” as saying that “all the workers’ demands are economic in nature” and the protest was not politically motivated. A state-owned news company’s TikTok account posted a video, which claimed that a street in a Chongqing industrial park was littered with antigen tests, according to AFP. The hashtag “Chongqing Dadukou Pharmaceutical Factory” appeared to have been censored on Chinese social media platforms such as Weibo on Sunday night. Zybio did not respond to a request for comment. Covid-19 infections have been spreading throughout the country since it ended its strict zero-Covid policy, measures that were in place for three years. Following the sudden easing of anti-Covid restrictions late last month, many cities in China saw a surge in demand for essential medical supplies, such as N95 masks, rapid antigen test kits and fever medication. But demand for test kits is easing as such medical supplies become widely available at a much lower prices. The protest comes just two months after clashes erupted between workers and security forces at the world’s largest iPhone factory , a massive facility operated by Foxconn Technology Group in Zhengzhou. A number of new hires were reportedly angry over Covid-related work allowances. In one clip posted online, hundreds of workers were seen marching down a road, throwing sticks and bricks at anti-riot police standing in front of them. In another video, workers were seen smashing up Covid-19 testing kiosks with steel bars, chairs and fire extinguishers to shouts of “smash it up”. Foxconn, officially known as Hon Hai Precision Industry, said in a statement that there had been public protests and “violence” at the factory. It also said it would communicate continuously with employees and the government to “prevent similar incidents from happening again”.