Beijing (IP) - Chinese security forces detained protesters on Monday to stamp out widening dissent seeking political freedoms and an end to Covid lockdowns.

Iran PressAsia: People have taken to the streets in major cities and gathered at university campuses across China in a wave of protests not seen since pro-democracy rallies in 1989 were crushed.

From Shanghai to Beijing, protests have erupted across China in a rare show of dissent against the ruling Communist Party sparked by anger over the country’s increasingly costly zero-Covid policy.

As numbers swelled at demonstrations in multiple major cities over the weekend, some called for greater democracy and freedom.

Among the thousands of protesters, hundreds have even called for the removal of Chinese leader Xi Jinping, who for nearly three years has overseen a strategy of mass testing, brute-force lockdowns, enforced quarantine, and digital tracking that has come at a devastating human and economic cost.

The protests were triggered by a deadly fire last Thursday in Urumqi, the capital of the far western region of Xinjiang. The blaze killed at least 10 people and injured nine in an apartment building – leading to public fury after videos of the incident appeared to show lockdown measures had delayed firefighters from reaching the victims.

The city had been under lockdown for more than 100 days, with residents unable to leave the region and many forced to stay home.

By Sunday evening, mass demonstrations had spread to Beijing, Chengdu, Guangzhou, and Wuhan, where thousands of residents called for not only an end to Covid restrictions but, more remarkably, political freedoms.

Residents in some locked-down neighborhoods tore down barriers and took to the streets.

Public protest is exceedingly rare in China, where the Communist Party has tightened its grip on all aspects of life, launched a sweeping crackdown on dissent, wiped out much of civil society, and built a high-tech surveillance state.


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