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July 8, 2009

Ethnic clashes in Urumqi, China

On Sunday, July 5th in Urumqi, the capital of China's western Xinjiang region, thousands of minority ethnic Uighur residents marched, demanding a government investigation into an earlier incident - a brawl between Han Chinese and Uighurs in a toy factory in Shaoguan that ended with at least two Uighur deaths. Sometime during the July 5th protest the situation became very violent, Uighurs clashing with police and attacking local Han Chinese. Urumqi citizens woke the next morning to learn that over 1,000 people had been injured and 156 killed in their city. Government forces worked to quell the violence and to separate the newly-formed Han vigilante groups and the Uighurs still in the streets. Communications were shut off, streets closed, curfews imposed, hundreds arrested, and thousands of troops poured into Urumqi, which remains tense - several clashes reported even today. [ Update: Today, 7/10/09, Chinese officials released the ethnic breakdown of those killed in the riots for the first time - 137 of victims were ethnic Han, 46 were Uighurs and one was Hui. AP Story ] (36 photos total)

Liu Huiling, a Han Chinese patient, who was injured during ethnic clashes recuperates at People's Hospital in Urumqi, western China's Xinjiang province, Wednesday, July 8, 2009. Ethnic clashes have paralyzed Urumqi over the past several days, with minority Uighur and Han Chinese mobs roaming the streets and attacking each other. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

A handout photo allegedly taken on July 5, 2009, and released on July 6 by the Washington-based 'Uyghur American Association' said to show the scene of a riot involving Muslim Uighurs and Chinese security forces on a street in Urumqi, the capital of China's Autonomous Region of Xinjiang. (AFP/AFP/Getty Images/Uyghur American Association Handout) #

A video grab from China's CCTV shows an injured man in Urumqi, in Xinjiang, China on July 6, 2009. (REUTERS/CCTV via Reuters TV) #

In this photo taken on Sunday, July 5, 2009, and released by the Xinjiang Government Press Office, Tuesday, July 7, 2009, a burning vehicle rests in a street following a riot in Urumqi, China. (AP Photo/Xinjiang Government Press Office) #

Dead bodies of victims following riots are seen in Urumqi, Xinjiang China in this government handout picture taken on July 5, 2009 and released to Reuters on July 7, 2009. (REUTERS/Urumqi City Government/Handout) #

In this photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, a fire engine burns during the riot in Urumqi, capital of northwest China's Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, late Sunday, July 5, 2009. (AP Photo/Xinhua, Li Haitao) #

The dead body of a victim lies on the bloody ground following riots in Urumqi, Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region in this government handout picture taken on July 5, 2009 and released to Reuters on July 7, 2009. (REUTERS/Urumqi City Government/Handout) #

In this photo taken on Sunday, July 5, 2009, and released by the Xinjiang Government Press Office, Tuesday, July 7, 2009, a bloodied, injured man is helped by a nurse following a riot in Urumqi, China. (AP Photo/Xinjiang Government Press Office) #

A boy runs next to an overturned car just outside the Uighurs neighbourhood in Urumqi on July 8, 2009. (REUTERS/ Nir Elias) #

Zhang Xiangying, a Han Chinese victim of ethnic violence, recuperates at People's Hospital in Urumqi, Wednesday, July 8, 2009. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko) #

A bloodstained car, damaged during protests, is towed away in Urumqi on Monday, July 6 , 2009. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan) #

A woman looks through a damaged window following Sunday's riot in Urumqi on July 7, 2009. (REUTERS/Nir Elias) #

A large group of Han Chinese walk up a street carrying sticks and shovels in Urumqi on July 7, 2009. Police on July 7 fired clouds of tear gas to disperse thousands of Han Chinese protesters armed with makeshift weapons, as chaos gripped this flashpoint city riven by ethnic tensions. (PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images) #

Armed Chinese soldiers in riot gear march across a main street leading to the end of the city occupied by ethnic Uighurs in Urumqi on July 8, 2009. (REUTERS/David Gray) #

An ethnic Uighur woman looks out the window of an apartment one day after Han Chinese mobs attacked the compound in Urumqi, China on Wednesday, July 8, 2009. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan) #

Ethnic Uighurs look on as Chinese security forces stand by the entrance to the Uighurs' neighborhood in Urumqi on July 8, 2009. (REUTERS/ Nir Elias) #

Ethnic Uighurs stand watch with sticks behind a roadblock in their neighborhood in Urumqi on July 8, 2009. (REUTERS/ Nir Elias) #

An ethnic Uighur woman carries a metal rod as she walks down a main road in the city of Urumqi on July 8, 2009. Urumqui's ethnic Uighur and Han Chinese residents have taken to carrying metal rods and sticks for protection against attacks. (REUTERS/David Gray) #

A Han Chinese man carries a spiked steel bar while using his cell phone to take photos as he joins a mob of Han Chinese men attacking Uighur properties in Urumqi on Tuesday, July 7, 2009. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan) #

A Han Chinese crowd walks, carrying sticks and other items as they gather in the street in Urumqi on July 7, 2009. (REUTERS/Nir Elias) #

A Han Chinese man chases down a photographer to stop him taking pictures as thousands of Chinese take to the streets in Urumqi on July 7, 2009. (PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images) #

Han Chinese men attack a Uighur house despite tear gas deployed by Chinese paramilitary police to stop them in Urumqi on Tuesday, July 7 , 2009. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan) #

A mob of Han Chinese throw rocks at a building where some Uighurs were believed to be hiding in Urumqi, China on Tuesday, July 7, 2009. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan) #

Chinese security forces get into formation on the People's Square in Urumqi, China on Wednesday, July 8, 2009. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan) #

An army helicopter flies over the city of Urumqi on July 8, 2009. (PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images) #

Chinese soldiers and policemen in riot gear stand together on the main square in the city of Urumqi on July 8, 2009. (REUTERS/David Gray) #

Ethnic Uighurs hold sticks and wait near the entrance to their neighbourhood, as security forces stand outside in Urumqi on July 8, 2009. (REUTERS/ Nir Elias) #

An AFP TV grab shows a mob of Han Chinese attacking a lone Muslim Uighur man along a street in Urumqi, China on July 8, 2009. Han Chinese mobs attacked two Uighurs in separate incidents in China's flashpoint Urumqi city on July 8, according to AFP reporters, who witnessed the events. (Sam Beattie/AFP/Getty Images) #

Chinese paramilitary police prepare to face off protesters in Urumqi, China on Tuesday, July 7, 2009. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan) #

Tursun Gul, a local Uighur woman on a crutch, shouts at Chinese armored personnel carriers and soldiers wearing riot gear as a crowd of angry locals confront security forces on a street in the city of Urumqi on July 7, 2009. (REUTERS/David Gray) #

Tursun Gul, an ethnic Uighur woman, faces off with Chinese paramilitary police in Urumqi, China on Tuesday, July 7, 2009. Gul, along with a crowd of Uighurs behind her, was shouting at the soldiers to return their men - Gul's husband and four brothers were arrested the day before, along with over 1,400 others.. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan) #

Tursun Gul argues with an ethnic Uighur officer of China's paramilitary Peoples Armed Police in front of an armoured personnel carrier and other soldiers as a crowd of angry locals confront security forces on a street in the city of Urumqi on July 7, 2009. (REUTERS/David Gray) #

Special police officers face off a crowd of Uighur residents after they staged a protest near visiting foreign journalists in Urumqi on Tuesday, July 7 , 2009. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan) #

Ethnic Uighur women grab a riot policeman's helmet as they protest in Urumqi on July 7, 2009. (PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images) #

An ethnic Uighur man carries a shield and a stick as he walks around his neighbourhood in Urumqi on July 8, 2009. (REUTERS/ Nir Elias) #

A Muslim man looks out from his boarded up shop in the Uighur area of the city of Urumqi on July 8, 2009. (PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images) #

 
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