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two arrested in Shanghai

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The police arrested two people on Monday, November 28 in Shanghai, where demonstrators had gathered over the weekend to protest against Covid-related health restrictions and demand more freedoms.

Asked about the reason for the arrest, a police officer said that one of the two people had “did not obey our provisions”, referring to local police authorities for more details. Officers were also removing other people present at the scene and ordering them to erase images from their phones.

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In Shanghai, clashes broke out with the police and many people were arrested. The city police, questioned several times, had still not answered on Monday on the number of detentions during the weekend.

The streets closed Sunday evening after the demonstrations had reopened Monday morning, with a more modest police presence, but blue palisades had been erected along the sidewalks to prevent any further gatherings.

“Xi Jinping, resign”

On Sunday, a crowd of demonstrators, responding to calls on social networks, expressed their anger in particular in Beijing, Shanghai and Wuhan, catching the police off guard. They were protesting against the strict zero Covid policy applied in China for almost three years but also to demand more political freedoms.

Among the slogans chanted in unison: “No Covid tests, we are hungry! », “Xi Jinping, resign! CCP (Chinese Communist Party, editor’s note), withdraw! », “No to confinements, we want freedom”.

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By its extent on the territory, the mobilization, whose total number of participants is difficult to verify, seems the most important since the pro-democracy riots of 1989. It is the culmination of a popular discontent which has not ceased to rise in recent months in China, one of the last countries in the world to apply a strict policy “zero Covid”which involves repeated confinements and almost daily PCR tests of the population.

On Chinese social media, any information about the protests appeared to have been scrubbed Monday morning. On the Weibo platform, a sort of Chinese Twitter, searches “Liangma River” and “Urumqi Street”two of the places of protests the day before, did not give any results related to the mobilization.

Videos showing students singing and protesting in other cities had also disappeared from the WeChat network. They were replaced by messages stating that the post had been reported “due to sensitive or illegal content”. On Weibo, the search for the keyword #A4 – in reference to the white sheets held up during rallies – seemed to have been modified to give only a few

” Boiling point “

The “People’s Daily” published a text on Monday warning against the “paralysis” and the “weariness” in the face of the zero Covid policy, without however calling for an end to it. “People have now reached a boiling point because there is no clear direction on the way forward to end the zero Covid policy”says Alfred Wu Muluan, an expert on Chinese politics at the National University of Singapore.

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The protests worried investors, and Asian stock markets were down sharply at the opening on Monday.

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As for the number of Covid-19 cases in China, it reached a new record on Monday since the start of the pandemic, with 40,052 cases, even if the vast majority are asymptomatic. And the figure remains minimal compared to the Chinese population (1.4 billion inhabitants).

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