Police announced the arrest in China of a “criminal groupSuspected of being behind banks with questionable practices, after a demonstration of distressed savers violently dispersed in the center of the country on Sunday.

Weakened by the economic slowdown, four banks in Henan province have suspended all cash withdrawals since mid-April, surprising thousands of small savers. A situation that has since given rise to sporadic demonstrations.

“Corruption” and “violence”

One of the most important gathered several hundred people on Sunday in front of a branch of the Central Bank of China in Zhengzhou, the capital of the province of Henan, according to several participants who asked AFP anonymity. Local authorities have not commented on these events, but police in Xuchang, a town in Henan, announced on Sunday the arrest of an evil group operating in local finance.

According to the police, since 2011 the group had checked several local banks and made wire transfers “illegal»Through fictitious loans. The statement did not specify the number of people arrested and had no direct connection with Sunday’s protest. According to footage verified by the AFP, the banners accused local authorities of “corruption“And the character of”violenceat previous rallies.

Power kills any contestation

In a video shot on Sunday, a man with a swollen eye said he was beaten by “thugsand got on a police bus. A protester told AFP about the demonstrators “hit” And “woundedby unidentified individuals. Other images show protesters resisting an onslaught of people in civilian clothes and throwing plastic bottles.

Demonstrations in China are relatively rare, in a country where maintaining social stability is an obsession and where power generally crushes any protest in the bud. Out of desperation, however, some Chinese do not hesitate to take to the streets, despite the risk of arrests and judicial proceedings.

Last month, Henan authorities were targeted after allegedly manipulating health clearances to prevent further protests. Some saw it as a form of collusion between local authorities and the offending banks. The health pass is mandatory in China to access the vast majority of buildings, shopping centers, public places but also some means of transport.

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