The riots in Urumqi, capital of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, were “designed to ignite violence,” the Xinhua News Agency reported yesterday.
People involved “appeared to have prepared weapons in the days leading up to the unrest,” it said.
On July 5, protests began simultaneously in more than 50 locations, targeting government institutions, news organizations, armed police stations, private residences and people, the Xinjiang Publicity Security Bureau claimed.
The rioters also damaged the public transport system, setting fire to 28 buses and damaging 255, the Urumqi Public Transportation Company said.
The rioters had prepared many weapons such as sticks and stones, and took action in various places at the same time, Nur Bekri, chairman of the Xinjiang government claimed in an interview with foreign reporters Saturday.
Police officers shot 12 rioters on the night of July 5, after firing guns into the air had “no effect” on the “extremely vicious thugs.”
“The police showed as much restraint as possible. Many of them were injured and one was killed,” he said.