Protesters called for China’s powerful leader to resign as authorities in at least eight cities struggled to suppress demonstrations that represent a rare direct challenge to the ruling Communist Party.
Police used pepper spray to drive away a group of demonstrators who were calling for the end of one-party rule in the city.
The protesters were driven away in a bus after police broke up the demonstration. The protests, which began Friday and have spread to cities including Beijing, are the most widespread show of opposition to the ruling party in decades.
The chants were loud and clear in the video verified by The AP.
Go down! CCP! The most powerful leader since at least the 1980s was given a third five-year term as leader of the ruling party.
He is expected to try to stay in power.
China is the only major country trying to stop the transmission of COVID-19.
Access has been suspended for weeks at a time.
Some cities test millions of people daily.
That has kept China’s infections low, but public acceptance has worn thin.
Some people who are isolated at home lack food and medicine.
The deaths of two children made the ruling party face public anger.
Some people who have been locked in their homes for four months have been protesting after a fire broke out in an apartment building.
There were angry questions online about whether firefighters or people trying to escape were blocked by locked doors.
Most of the 25 million people were confined to their homes for almost two months starting in March.
A group of protesters brought flowers and candles on a street named for Urumqi.
A protester who insisted on anonymity said another was more active and shouted slogans.
The protester and another, who did not give his name, confirmed the chants.
The people who spoke to the AP about the protests didn’t want to be identified because of fear.
The protester said that the atmosphere of the protest encouraged people to speak about topics considered taboo.
Some called for an apology for the deaths in the fire.
A member of the Uyghur ethnic group shared his experiences of discrimination and police violence, which has been the target of a security crackdown.
The protester said that he thought that Chinese people were afraid to come out and protest because they did not have any courage.
The environment was such that everyone was very brave, that’s what I discovered when I went there.
Hundreds of police broke up the more active group before they came for the second as they tried to remove the people from the main street.
The protester said that he could not identify the people he saw being taken away by police.
One of his friends was beaten by police and two others were sprayed with pepper spray. He left barefoot because he lost his shoes.
He said protesters yelled slogans, including one that has become a rallying cry, that they do not want the tests, but want freedom.
State media reported that markets, train, and airline service will resume in areas that are not considered to be at high risk of virus transmission.
They didn’t give a clue as to whether residents in higher-risk areas would be allowed to stay in their homes.