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Protests in Shanghai against confinement

Angry mobs took to the streets of Shanghai on Sunday to demand an end to lockdowns, amid growing public anger over China’s rigid zero-COVID policy.

In the central street of Wulumuqi in Shanghai, a video released by social networks and geolocated by AFP showed protesters shouting “Xi Jinping, resign, resign!”, in a rare show of rejection of the Chinese president.

Another video sent to AFP by an eyewitness showed people gathered in the city center to pay respects to the 10 victims of a fire in Urumqi, in the western region of Xinjiang.

That fire that occurred on Thursday generated anger on social networks for considering that the confinements by covid-19 complicated the rescue of the victims.

Other vigils were held at universities across China, according to social media posts.

A Shanghai protester who asked not to be named told AFP he arrived at a demonstration at 2:00 a.m. (6:00 p.m. GMT on Friday) when “a group of people were paying tribute and laying flowers on the sidewalk, while another group was chanting slogans.” .

“There were minor clashes, but the police behaved civilly,” he said.

“It’s moving to see so many like-minded people come together,” he added. “It’s impressive that under the current circumstances, there are still brave people standing up,” she said.

Authorities quickly removed social media posts about the protests as soon as videos of the protests began to be released.

– Confinements and quarantines –

The protests take place amid the growing frustration of the population with the government’s zero-tolerance strategy for covid.

China is the last major economy that maintains the zero covid strategy, with confinements, extensive quarantines and massive tests to eradicate sources of contagion as soon as they appear.

On Sunday, China registered 39,506 local infections of covid-19, a record number for this country of 1.4 billion people.

Shanghai, a city of more than 25 million, endured a two-month lockdown this year that led to food shortages.

After the deadly fire in Urumqi, hundreds of people gathered in front of the local government chanting “Lift the lockdown!”, according to images partially verified by AFP.

In another video, dozens of people appear marching through a neighborhood in the east of the city shouting the same slogan before confronting authorities in protective suits and security personnel.

AFP was able to verify the videos by geolocating local landmarks, but was unable to determine when the demonstrations took place.

After the protests, authorities said on Saturday that Urumqi “had reduced social transmissions to zero” and would restore “normal life” in low-risk areas in an orderly manner.

Melissa Galbraith
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.