A deadly fire that killed at least 10 people in the Chinese city of Urumqi sparked public outrage toward the country’s stringent “zero-COVID” policy. Many posts on Chinese social media asked if prolonged lockdowns delayed rescue operations. The anger then turned into a protest.

On the evening of Friday, November 25, citizens in Xinjiang’s capital of Urumqi allegedly took the streets to protest. Together, they chanted, “End the lockdown!”

Videos showed several people in a plaza singing China’s national anthem. The lyrics, “Rise up, those who refuse to be slaves!” Others demanded the lockdowns be lifted. 

Images and videos of the locals’ mass protests have been widely shared on international social media.

The protest came after a fire on November 24 sparked outrage over the prolonged COVID lockdown.

As Bloomberg News reported, videos circulating on the internet revealed that the fire trucks were trying to get to the building while also spraying water at the flames from a distance. 

In another video, people were seen removing barriers for the trucks. 

Bloomberg was unable to immediately confirm the posts.

According to Reuters, 4 million Urumqi residents have been placed under COVID lockdown and banned from leaving their homes for as long as 100 days.

After the high-rise fire in Urumqi broke out, many internet users suspected that residents were unable to escape in time because the building was partially locked down.

On November 26, Urumqi officials quickly held a news conference to deny COVID restrictions had delayed escape and rescue. Yet, the move didn’t ease internet users’ anger.

Sign up to receive our latest news!

By submitting this form, I agree to the terms.