Police fan out to halt ethnic unrest in China

Police fan out to halt ethnic unrest in China

Urumqi, capital of the northwestern region of Xinjiang, imposed an overnight curfew on Tuesday after thousands of Han Chinese, armed with sticks, knives and metal bars, stormed through its streets demanding redress and sometimes extracting bloody vengeance on Muslim Uighurs for Sunday’s violence. Many took to the streets again on Wednesday and even with helicopters hovering overhead there were scuffles in a volatile crowd of around 1,000 as police seized apparent ringleaders, prompting cries of “release them, release them”.

President Hu Jintao abandoned plans to attend a G8 summit in Italy, returning home to monitor developments in energy-rich Xinjiang, where 1,080 people were also wounded in rioting and 1,434 have been arrested since Sunday.

Life was returning to the streets of Uighur neighbourhoods. But residents said night-time arrests were continuing and they were preparing against further Han attacks.

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