Thursday, July 9, 2009

Tensions high in riot-hit Urumqi

Ethnic unrest is escalating in China's western Xinjiang region, where police have clashed with a large group of armed ethnic Han Chinese trying to reach a Uighur neighbourhood in the city of Urumqi.

The clashes come two days after deadly rioting in the city left at least 156 people dead and hundreds injured in the worst outbreak of ethnic violence seen in China in years.

With tensions high, groups of Uighurs and Han Chinese took to the streets in at least four neighbourhoods of the Xinjiang capital on Tuesday.

Police used tear gas in an effort to disperse the crowds and keep the rival groups apart.

Al Jazeera's correspondent Melissa Chan, reporting from Urumqi, said one group of Han Chinese, some armed with sticks, shovels and knives, were trying to break through police lines to reach a Uighur area of the city.
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