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Urumqi quiet as police standing guard

2009-09-06 07:55 BJT

Special Report: 7.5 Xinjiang Urumqi Riots |

URUMQI, Sept. 5 (Xinhua) -- Urumqi was quiet on Saturday, a day after local residents took to the streets to protest against syringe attacks.

Most downtown streets were quieter than normal weekends, with policemen standing guard at major intersections and traffic restrictions imposed on Thursday night still in place to keep vehicles off roads.

Few pedestrians were seen in the southern part of the city, mostly inhabited by people of the Uygur ethnic group. On a pivotal street linking the People's Hospital with Urumqi Zoo, some stores were still in business.

Police wagons patrolled urban roads, carrying loudspeakers that announced messages reminding citizens of traffic restrictions imposed since Thursday night.

"These have certainly caused inconvenience in your travels, but please do understand," one of the messages said.

Traffic restrictions were still in effect but were loosened to some extent Saturday, with buses and taxis being allowed to pass some intersections that were off-limits to all vehicles until Friday.

But little access to traffic forced some travelers to hike to their destinations and offered business opportunities to pedicab drivers, who offered to carry up to 10 passengers in a single trip. Motorbikes and even horse-drawn carriages joined the public transport system in some areas.

Saturday also saw the closing of the 18th Urumqi Trade Fair, China's only business event targeting central, west and south Asia.

The annual fair, which opened on Tuesday, drew more than 500 businesspeople from 29 countries and regions, including Russia, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. It also attracted many businesspeople from 21 inland provinces and municipalities of China.

Deals reached at this year's fair were worth 4.31 billion U.S. dollars, up 21.9 percent year on year, said Hu Wei, vice chairman of the regional government.

Editor: Zhang Pengfei | Source: Xinhua