Uighurs in Europe march to mark Urumqi riots

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Scores of demonstrators from across Europe, mostly ethnic Uighurs living in exile, marched in Paris on Sunday to mark the first anniversary of deadly rioting in China's Xinjiang region.

About 150 people took part in a demonstration near the Eiffel Tower in central Paris, according to an AFP journalist, before marching to the Chinese embassy.

The protestors carried placards that read "Stop the Chinese Massacre against Uighurs" and "Freedom for Eastern Turkistan" at the event organised by the World Uighur Congress, which represents exiled Uighurs.

They came from across France and also from Britain, Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland to take part in the protest, waving the blue flag with white stars and a crescent representing Eastern Turkistan.

Demonstrators called on the international community to pressure China into holding talks with Uighur leaders following the violence last year in Xinjiang's capital city Urumqi.

The city was torn in two on July 5, 2009 as the mainly Muslim Uighur minority vented decades of resentment of Chinese rule with attacks on members of China's dominant Han ethnic group.

Nearly 200 people were killed and 1,700 injured in all, the government says, in the worst ethnic violence in China in decades.

© 2010 AFP

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