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Chinese authorities ask Urumqi residents to stay indoors

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Police in west China's riot-hit city of Urumqi have urged residents to remain in their homes, the China News Service said on Wednesday.

BEIJING, July 8 (RIA Novosti) - Police in west China's riot-hit city of Urumqi have urged residents to remain in their homes, the China News Service said on Wednesday.

Thousands of police have been deployed on the streets, and the authorities say the situation is now under control.

On Wednesday evening military vehicles equipped with loudspeakers drove around the city asking residents to "stay indoors and keep calm." Residents are also recommended to "return home as soon as possible and abstain from riots."

Military helicopters have been dropping leaflets with similar appeals.

"Regardless of your nationality, we together should oppose those who do outrageous things inside the country and those who mastermind them from abroad," one of the leaflets said. "We hope for your understanding and cooperation."

At least 156 people were killed and over 1,000 injured in clashes between Uighturs and Han Chinese in the capital of the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, which started when a group of protesters demanded an investigation into the death of two ethnic Uighurs who died during a fight with Han Chinese workers in late June.

On Wednesday sporadic rallies were reported in the city, mainly by Uighurs who protested against the detention of their relatives. However, they all were quickly put down by police, who isolated Han Chinese neighbors from Uighur districts.

Police detained over 1,400 people in connection with the riots. Riots forced Chinese President Hu Jintao to cut short his visit to Italy, where he was due to attend the G8 summit.

Authorities said the riots were instigated "by a small group of criminals" and were not caused by ethnic or religious tensions. Local police said they had evidence that Rebiya Kadeer, the 62-year-old exiled Uighur activist and a mother of 11, was behind the clashes, Xinhua reported.

 

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