"Xi Jinping step down”- Shanghai hit by Covid protests as anger spreads across China
Protesters in Shanghai called for Chinese leader Xi Jinping to "step down" amid mounting anger at Covid-19 lockdowns, during a candlelight vigil held for the victims of the Urumqi fire on Saturday.
In footage circulating on Chinese social media, protesters were seen shouting, "Communist party step down! Xi Jinping step down!" and "End lockdown in Xinjiang,” in a rare public protest against the country's leadership. Police were also seen detaining several people at the protest site and bundling them into police vehicles.
Reuters was able to confirm the location of the videos via the building signs, features or street signs visible, which matched other videos taken in the area and gave the exact location.
The fire on Thursday (November 24) that killed 10 people in a high-rise building in Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang region, has sparked widespread public anger. Many internet users surmised that residents could not escape in time because the building was partially locked down, which city officials denied.
The fire has fueled a wave of civil disobedience unprecedented in mainland China since Xi Jinping assumed power a decade ago. Beijing is adhering to a zero-Covid policy even while much of the world try to coexist with the coronavirus. While low by global standards, China's cases have hit record highs for days, with nearly 40,000 new infections reported on Sunday for the previous day.