Armed riot police, armoured personnel carriers and guard dogs patrolled the capital of China’s only Muslim majority region yesterday after scores died in the bloodiest clashes in the country since the Tiananmen Square crackdown in 1989.
Officials said in a riot that erupted on Sunday evening in the heart of the city of Urumqi in the west of China. They said the number of fatalities was almost certain to rise.
At least 140 people have been killed in rioting in the capital of China's northwestern region of Xinjiang, with the government blaming exiled separatists for the Muslim area's worst case of unrest in years.
*** This has now been confirmed as 156 had been killed, and 828 people injured****
Hundreds of rioters have been arrested, the official Xinhua news agency reported, after rock-throwing Uighurs took to the streets of the regional capital yesterday, some burning and smashing vehicles and confronting ranks of anti-riot police.
Li Zhi, the Communist Party boss of Urumqi told a news conference that the death toll from the rioting had risen to 140, the semi-official China News Agency said. Xinhua said 816 people were injured and hospitalised.
Police rounded up "several hundred" who participated in the violence, including more than 10 key players who fanned unrest, Xinhua said, and are searching for 90 others.