After a fire in an apartment building claimed the lives of ten people, videos uploaded on social media in China appeared to depict new protests over COVID regulations.
People may be seen in Urumqi assaulting police, crashing through a fence, and yelling "stop the Covid lockdown."
In spite of a strict zero-Covid policy, infections have reached new highs in China.
Authorities in Urumqi have now pledged to gradually remove the restrictions, though they dispute that they prevented anyone from fleeing the fire on Thursday.
Since early August, there have been restrictions in place in the city, which serves as the regional capital of western Xinjiang.
After the tragedy, a resident informed the BBC that residents of the burned-out enclave had been mostly banned from leaving their homes.
Chinese state media has refuted that. Authorities in Urumqi did, however, issue an extraordinary apology late on Friday, promising to punish anyone who disobeyed orders.
Residents were seen congregating on city streets after dark in footage that was released on Friday night, many of them wearing masks.
They were observed singing, fist-pumping, and yelling at the authorities. The Reuters news service confirmed the location.
In one video, a protester uses a megaphone to shout, and in another, a throng smashes through a barricade being watched by city personnel in safety gear.
On Friday night, the BBC kept an eye on live broadcasts that looked to show demonstrators assembled on the steps of a municipal building.