Commercial tenants in Shanghai ask for rent relief amid COVID disruption

Shop owners in Shanghai have held a rally calling for rent relief, citing the economic fallout from the city's stringent COVID-19 lockdown measures.

More than 100 owners gathered in a central part of the city, which is home to garment wholesalers and retailers in other fields.

Protesters said they lost the opportunity to make money during the lockdown period, which came to an end on June 1 for much of the city.

Authorities in Shanghai have revealed a plan to exempt tenants of state-run commercial complexes from rent payments. But the protesters are not eligible for the exemptions, as they rent privately-run properties.

One of the participants said her revenue dwindled to nothing during the lockdown period. She expressed her frustration about the damage inflicted on shop owners like her.

It was the latest sign of growing discontent with the authorities over their handling of the coronavirus outbreak. The protest was cut short by police.