Authored by Kelly Song via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),
Protests demanding an end to COVID lockdowns broke out in the center of Shanghai on Sunday, following outrage over an apartment building fire in Urumqi, Xinjiang, that killed 10 people on Thursday.
After the news of the fire spread via social media, hundreds of angry Shanghai residents gathered at central Wulumuqi Road, which is named after Urumqi, the capital of the Xinjiang region.
The Epoch Times spoke with one of the protesters, who used the pseudonym Zhengyi Dong, who took to the streets with her boyfriend on Sunday.
At Wulumuqi Road, Dong said she saw some protesters holding blank pieces of paper, some got into scuffles with police, some were beaten, and some were taken into police buses.
Dong described the scene as “shocking.”
“I was very moved. The people have been suppressed for too long. It was not fear. I felt that my blood was boiling,” she said.
Dong said there were at least 100 police at the location, and they had blocked off the road and taken down the road sign.
Videos online show protesters chanting slogans such as “Down with the Chinese Communist Party” and “Remove Xi Jinping from office.”
Before Dong left the scene at around 8 pm, she saw at least three protesters arrested. Other protesters were shouting, “release them, release them,” but to no avail, she said.
There were other reports of protesters being arrested, with some being beaten, with one witness stating that he saw one female protestor being beaten by a dozen police, reported RFI.
Other protesters estimated several dozen people were arrested. The exact number of arrests cannot be confirmed.
BBC reported that one of its reporters was arrested when interviewing protesters. The reporter was released several hours later.
Dong’s parents live in Xinjiang, and her grandmother died during the pandemic.
She said she used to trust the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and thought that China would improve and that the police were there to protect society.
After she saw the protest scene, she said she was shocked, “the people’s police were actually taking down the road signs and beating the people!”
“This cannot solve the problem but exacerbate the issue. We will go to protest again,” Dong said.
Someone posted on social media a picture of the street sign Wulumuqi Road being taken down by police. Some suggested changing the road name to “Zero-COVID Road.”
Dong said that she is not easily swayed, adding that the protest had a legitimate reason—concern over the deadly fire in Urumqi.
“I don’t know about other people, but no one told me to go there; I went there out of my own will,” Dong said.
“When we heard the news, we were outraged. At the time, nothing but the fire was discussed on WeChat, Tik Tok, or other platforms. But these platforms keep deleting the posts.”
She said, “I have had three accounts on WeChat banned.”
Dong said she felt that her blood was boiling at the protest—there was no fear but only astonishment.
“I felt that I was witnessing history in the making. I had goosebumps,” she said.
Read more here…