Branch Protection and Protected Files

I have the following scenario

In my repo main branch, I am ok with all the users directly pushing (but not force pushing) except for one folder /a here I want to only allow changes via pull requests.

So I used the branch protection feature to allow push but not force push on main and also added the /a/** pattern to protect files below the /a path, hoping that now these could only be changed via pull request …

Unfortunately, now Gitea refuses pull requests for changing things below /a, pointing out that they are about to change the protected files.

What am I doing wrong? Or am I misunderstanding the feature ?