Cambridge, Mass. ( Associated Press) – Hundreds of people rallied on Tuesday near the Harvard University campus and the Chinese consulates in New York and Chicago to show their support for protests that have challenged China’s president over strict restrictions to stop the spread of the pandemic. requested to be removed. COVID-19, which has been the biggest protest against the Beijing government in decades.
About 50 protesters, mostly university students, sang songs in English and Chinese and chanted slogans in both languages, including “We are not slaves, we are citizens,” “We don’t want dictatorship, we want elections,” and “Resign, Xi Jinping,” referring to the Chinese president by name.
Many of those gathered in front of the John Harvard statue wore masks, not because of COVID-19 but out of concern that their relatives in China could face repercussions if they were recognized by Chinese authorities .
Relatives could face harassment or even lose their jobs, said Wen, a Chinese Harvard student who participated in the protest and did not want to reveal his full name to his relatives in China.
In New York, about 400 people gathered in the street in front of the consulate, carrying banners reading “Dignity and liberty for citizens” and “Free China”.
About 200 protesters gathered in front of the Chinese consulate in Chicago. Some of them shouted: “We don’t want PCR tests, we want food” and “We don’t want dictators, we want votes”.
Protesters carried flowers, lit candles and covered their faces with banners, masks and blank sheets of paper, which protesters in China have used as symbols against government censorship.
“I came here because I wanted to do everything I could to help my people,” said a 21-year-old man wearing a hazmat suit, a reference to the suits worn by those who are in mandatory COVID-19 protection. Perform 19 diagnostic tests. China.
She asked to be identified only as an artist because her parents belong to the Communist Party and she is concerned that they could be arrested if they are identified.
“They would be very concerned” if they knew he was at the protest, he said.
Chinese authorities’ restrictive “zero COVID” strategy has sparked demonstrations in at least eight cities in the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong, described as the most significant protests in Tiananmen Square since the 1989 pro-democracy student movement being done.
Some Chinese universities have sent students home and police were deployed in Beijing and Shanghai to prevent further protests on Tuesday. Security forces detained unidentified people and intensified surveillance.
Photojournalist John Minchillo in New York and reporter Claire Savage in Chicago contributed to this report.