It isn’t at all clear how what seems to have started as a peaceful protest erupted into a riot in Urumqi on Sunday. But events, according to state media, left three Han Chinese dead, and, according to exiled Uighur activist groups, one demonstrator dead and dozens arrested.
Police used batons, fire hoses and tear gas to disperse what had started out as a gathering to demand an investigation into a brawl last month between Uighur and Han Chinese workers at a toy factory in Guangdong in which two Uighurs were reportedly beaten to death.
Flash points are many given the continuing tension between the Muslim minority and Chinese, and police efforts to disperse the crowd, which had swollen from 300 to nearly 1,000i were met by attacks on buses, cars being set alight and police barriers overturned. Photos on Twitter show several blazes in the city, though it id impossible to tell what is on fire.
The riot subsided after two hours, and hundreds or reinforcements, police and army, were drafted into the city overnight to start mopping up operations. This is far from the first violent incident between the authorities and the Uighurs, who complain about the Hanisation of their region. We expect the usual pro-indepence suspects will soon be detained and castigated for their terrorism.