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Riots erupt in northwest China; 129 killed

At least 129 people were killed as riots erupted in northwest China where protesters from the ethnic Muslim Uighur community went on rampage, prompting a state crackdown.

world Updated: Jul 06, 2009 11:35 IST

At least 129 people were killed as riots erupted in northwest China where protesters from the ethnic Muslim Uighur community went on rampage, prompting a state crackdown.

The violence in Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang state, has left 129 people dead and injured 816 others, state-owned Xinhua news agency reported today quoting the regional public security department.

Police cracked down on protesters last night, arresting several hundred of them, "including more than ten key figures who fanned the unrest yesterday," the official said.

Xinhua said police was still searching for about 90 other key figures in the city.

China's state television broadcast images of the riots, with people ransacking public property and smashing vehicles.

The protesters were demanding a probe into a fight between Uighurs and Han Chinese workers at a southern China factory last month that had left two people dead.

Riots had erupted in the region ahead of the Olympics last August. Seventeen policemen were killed in Kashgar on August 4 in what China described as a "terrorist" attack.

Xinjiang has a roughly eight million population of Uighurs, who have alleged the government of suppressing their rights.