Deadly fire triggers more anti-COVID protests in China
A deadly fire in the western Xinjiang region triggered protests against China's restrictive COVID-19 measures Saturday night. Many protests could not be immediately confirmed, but in Shanghai, police used pepper spray to stop around 300 protesters who had gathered at Middle Urumqi Road at midnight, bringing flowers, candles and signs reading "Urumqi, Nov. 24, those who died rest in peace" to memorialize the 10 deaths caused by a fire in an apartment building in Xinjiang's capital city Urumqi.
One of the protesters said that one of his friends was beaten by police and two friends were pepper sprayed. He said police stomped his feet as he tried to stop them from taking his friend away. He lost his shoes in the process, and left the protest barefoot.
In multiple videos circulating on social media, people could be heard shouting demands for China’s leader Xi Jinping and the Communist Party to “step down.” The crowd also chanted “Don’t want Covid test, want freedom!” and “Don’t want dictatorship, want democracy!”
Protests have also broken out in the capital city Beijing. One student at the prestigious Peking University said that when he arrived at the protest scene at around 1 a.m. Sunday local time, there were around 100 students, and security guards were using jackets to cover a protest slogan painted on the wall.
“Open your eyes and look at the world, dynamic zero-Covid is a lie,” the protest slogan at Peking University read.