Protestors took to the streets in Urumqi, capital of western China region of Xinjiang, on Thursday demanding the removal of the local Communist Party chief, Reuters reported. The demonstration – by Han Chinese – comes amid public concern over a spate of syringe stabbings that has reignited ethnic tensions between Han and Uighurs. It was estimated that 3,000 people had gathered in the city’s People’s Square by early afternoon. Witnesses said they called for Wang Lequan, Xinjiang’s party chief for the last 14 years, to resign, to apologize to the people, and even to be executed. Some threw bottles and other objects in Wang’s direction as he attempted to appease the crowds from a balcony. According to the Xinjiang health office, 476 people – 433 of them Han Chinese – have gone to hospital to report syringe stabbings. Doctors have “found clear syringe marks in 89 cases,” regional television reported. Wang said 30 people have been detained in connection with the stabbings. It hasn’t been specified whether the suspects are Uighurs.
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