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Page last updated at 05:10 GMT, Saturday, 5 September 2009 06:10 UK

Police patrol after China unrest

Riot police in Urumqi
Police are stationed on the streets of Urumqi to prevent further protests

Riot police have been deployed again on the streets of the western Chinese city of Urumqi, to try to prevent further protests over a spate of stabbings.

Several roads have been blocked to cars after days of demonstrations by thousands of residents from the majority Han Chinese community.

The biggest protests about the syringe stabbings were on Thursday when five people died and 14 were injured.

Local officials have blamed Uighur Muslim separatists for the attacks.

They accused them of trying to damage ethnic unity.

China's top security official, Meng Jianzhu, has arrived in the city to try to restore order.

On his arrival he was quoted by state-run news agency Xinhua as saying the syringe attacks were a continuation of the July unrest in which 200 people - mostly Han Chinese - were killed in ethnic riots.

Zhang Hong, vice-mayor of Urumqi, confirmed to reporters that there had been casualties in the latest unrest, but did not explain how they died.

"On Thursday, 14 people were injured and sent to hospital and five people were killed in the incidents including two innocent people," he said.

Xinjiang's population is evenly split between Uighurs and Han Chinese - the country's majority ethnic group. But Hans make up three-quarters of Urumqi's population.

Tension between Xinjiang's Uighur and Han communities has been simmering for many years, but July's ethnic unrest was the worst in China for decades.

It began when crowds of Uighurs took the streets to protest about mistreatment - but their rally spiralled out of control and days of violent clashes followed.


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