Report: Urumqi bans illegal public assembly

Police are shown on patrol in Urumqi, China, on Saturday, July 11.
A city in China’s far west that witnessed deadly protests last weekend has banned public assembly without police approval, state media reported.

“Assemblies, marches and demonstrations on public roads and at public places in the open air are not allowed without the permission by police,” read a notice by the Public Security Bureau of Urumqi, the Xinhua news agency reported. Violent demonstrations in Urumqi on July 5 claimed at least 184 lives. The protests also left more than 1,000 injured, according to government figures. Heavily armed troops remain on the streets of Urumqi and curfews are in effect. Meanwhile, an explosion occurred Sunday morning at a refinery of the Urumqi company of the China National Petroleum Corp., Xinhua said. By midday, firefighters had extinguished the blaze from the blast. It was not clear what caused the explosion. No casualties were reported and the incident was under investigation, Xinhua said. The Urumqi security measures on public assembly came on the eve of a sensitive day of mourning, media reported. It is traditional for ethnic Han to mourn their loss on the seventh day after a death, the South China Morning Post reported. The violence is a result of ethnic tensions between the Uyghurs, who are predominantly Muslim, and members of China’s Han majority. Hundreds of Han Chinese were on Urumqi streets Tuesday, holding sticks and pipes, and calling for punishment of the Uyghurs, who they say committed serious crimes.

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The Uyghurs say they have been victimized and many of those killed in the violence were Uyghurs. Uyghur religious leaders have condemned the violence, saying it is against the spirit of the Muslim faith and Uyghur tradition. In Turkey, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan continued his outspoken criticism Saturday of China’s crackdown on the Uyghurs. In remarks published by the official Anatolian Agency, Erdogan denounced what he called “savagery” and called on the Chinese government to “give up efforts to assimilate” the country’s Uyghur minority.

Erdogan told journalists on his return to Ankara from the G8 summit in Italy that “the incidents in China are a genocide. There’s no point in interpreting this otherwise.” Many Turks view the Uyghurs of central Asia as fellow Turkic, Muslim brothers.