Wednesday 8 July 2009

Unrest in Western China

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China's ruling Communist Party continued to appeal for calm and ethnic unity in the far western region of Xinjiang on Wednesday, amid smaller protests and reports of reprisals against Uighurs by groups of Han Chinese.

Thousands of troops and police with riot shields, batons and firearms patrolled the streets of Urumqi, the riot-torn regional capital, aided by armoured cars and helicopters.

Despite the tightening security, state media reported "sporadic standoffs and even minor clashes" in the city on Wednesday.

About 1,000 police were on duty in the area outside the hotel and it was "unclear" if the protesters, who reportedly included both Han and Uighurs, had left voluntarily or were dispersed by the police, she said.

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