Han Chinese protests intensify in Urumqi

The protesters massed in the streets in Urumqi, capital of the Xinjiang region, for a second day to protest that authorities were too slow to punish Uighurs, a Turkic-speaking Muslim people native to the energy-rich region, behind deadly riots on July 5.
The Han Chinese residents also said they were the targets of mysterious attacks with syringes. Police vans continued patrolling streets with loudspeakers, telling people to go home and maintain order. But with schools closed and bus routes through the city interrupted by road blocks, most in the crowds had little to do but mill about and break off into brief protests. “The main thing is nobody here feels secure any more,” said Zhen Guibin, a Han Chinese onlooker at one of the angry scenes. Many people complained that those behind the killings on July 5 had not been tried. The official Xinhua news agency reported that “tear gas has been deployed to disperse the protesters”.

“The government has also banned unlicensed marches, demonstrations and mass protests,” Xinhua said, as authorities step up efforts to stifle the unrest. During Thursday’s noisy protest, crowds called for regional Communist Party boss Wang Lequan to resign. Some called for his execution.

Wang, who has held the region’s most powerful position for the last 14 years, had made no appearances in state media on Friday, as of late afternoon.
Alarm spread in the city after government text messages, a week ago, warned of attacks with syringes. Some parents were afraid to send their children alone to classes when schools were open earlier in the week. Li Zhi, Urumqi’s Communist Party boss, raised the political stakes on Thursday by saying the syringe stabbings were part of a plot by separatist forces to sow conflict.

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