Ukrainians evacuated from Wuhan, China, have been less than welcomed at a village hosting the coronavirus quarantine facility. Videos show locals throwing stones at buses with evacuees, burning tires and clashing with police.
Dozens of villagers first attempted to block the road leading to Novye Sanzhary, in the Poltava region of central Ukraine, and stop the government’s plan to quarantine the Ukrainian evacuees from Wuhan there. Their roadblocks were removed by force, with police using armored vehicles and arresting several locals.
Later on Thursday, the villagers gathered outside the local medical facility and threw stones at the buses bringing in the evacuees, smashing windows and damaging the vehicles.
“I urge the protesters not to violate the law. All attempts to commit offenses will be stopped,” Ivan Vygovsky, head of the Poltava regional police, said in a statement.
This is not the first such protest in Ukraine. Earlier this week, roadblocks were set up in the Ternopil and Lviv regions in the west, following rumors that the government was planning to set up quarantine facilities there.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also appealed to the locals to show compassion for about 70 people who had been evacuated from China’s Hebei province on a charter flight.
“Unfortunately, not all of us reacted humanely,” Zelensky said on his Facebook page. “Attempts to block roads, block hospitals, and prevent Ukrainian citizens from entering the country – this is far from showing the best side of our national character.”
The novel coronavirus, officially called COVID-19, has infected over 75,000 people worldwide and caused more than 2,000 deaths in the two months since the first case was recorded in Wuhan.