After ongoing protests in China against the zero COVID policy have grabbed global attention, the security forces in the country have started to mobilise to call off the demonstrations by strict patrolling on streets and checking cell phones of the protesters to warn them for the actions, CNN reported on Tuesday.
On Monday and Tuesday, as a large number of demonstrators assembled and filled the streets in several regions of China, the police in some places used surveillance techniques to frighten those who were opposing the strict zero-Covid policy of the communist party.
In some parts of China, protests have subsided due to the increased police presence, but strong demonstrations were seen in Shanghai, where demonstrators demanded the ouster of Xi two nights in a row.
Tall barricades have entirely blocked the walkways on Urumqi Road, the major protest venue, making it nearly impossible for masses to gather, according to CNN. The ongoing demonstrations are one of the largest uprisings the communist country has seen since the 1989 Tiananmen Square pro-democracy movement.
Additionally, the response intended to disperse the ongoing protesters is probably going to make matters worse. China is in the middle of some of its fiercest protests against stringent Covid curbs in the country, with many memes, chants and catchphrases going viral. Several videos circulating on social media have shown crowds chanting the slogan "Communist Party step down, Down with Xi Jinping" in unison over a deadly fire in Urumqi, the capital of China's Xinjiang region that has unleashed excessive public outrage, Inside Over reported.
Large-scale protests in China, especially in Xinjiang, are rare, given the extensive blanket of high-tech surveillance measures authorities have imposed on the region to quell what the government sees as separatist or extremist tendencies.
Thousands of protesters took to the streets of Shanghai, where people were being bundled into police cars. Students have also demonstrated at universities in Beijing and Nanjing. Shanghai's 25 million people were put under lockdown for two months earlier this year, an ordeal that provoked anger and protest.
Chinese authorities have since then sought to be more targeted in their Covid-19 curbs. But that effort has been challenged by a surge in infections as China faces its first winter with the highly transmissible Omicron variant.
According to reports, civilian protests are on the rise in the country since a fire in the city of Urumqi led to the deaths of 10 people. Locals and onlookers blamed the incident on lockdown restrictions as they hindered the rescue process.