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Rare mass protests erupted in China over tough COVID restrictions after fire kills 10. 'We are human beings,' chanted the demonstrators.

Protests against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak measures in Urumqi city, Xinjiang Uygur, China in this screen grab obtained from a video released November 25, 2022.
Protests against coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak measures in Urumqi city, Xinjiang Uygur, China in this screen grab obtained from a video released November 25, 2022.

Reuters


  • Protests have erupted in the Xinjiang region of China against strict COVID-19 lockdowns. 

  • Ten people died in an apartment fire on Friday. Locals alleged the fire brigade was blocked by COVID-19 measures. 

  • The nephew of a woman killed in the blaze described the region as an "open-air prison."

Large protests have erupted in the city of Urumqi in the western Xinjiang region of China as frustration mounts against COVID lockdowns. 

Videos on Chinese social show people chanting, "end the COVID lockdown" and "we are human beings," Reuters reported.  

Xinjiang is in its third month of a COVID lockdown as the region sees a seven-day average of 24 new cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. 

—巴丢草 Bad ї ucao (@badiucao) November 25, 2022

 

The fury has been exacerbated by ten people dying in an apartment block fire on Friday in Urumqi, with videos online showing a far-away fire truck attempting to drench the flames but falling short, the BBC reports

Per the BBC, people online have stated that the trucks were blocked from fighting the fire by virus control barriers or by cars that had to be deserted by infected or quarantined drivers, a claim that city officials reject.

AP reported that Abdulhafız Muhammed Emin — a nephew of a woman killed in the blaze — described the region as an "open-air prison," saying "the Chinese government doesn't care about their lives."  

Authorities said on Saturday they would ease the months-long Covid lockdown in Xinjiang, reported CNN.

Such widespread protests are rare in China, but years of restrictions due to the country's zero-COVID policies have led to growing anger. 

Early this week, Insider reported that videos on social media appeared to show hundreds of workers clashing with security guards at Apple's giant iPhone-making factory in China as discontent erupted over draconian COVID-19 measures at the plant.

Social media videos show guards beating a person on the ground with sticks.

New cases of COVID have been rapidly increasing in China throughout November. It reported its highest number on Thursday, with 31,444 new infections, said The Guardian.

Read the original article on Business Insider