URUMQI: The death toll from the riots in Urumqi, capital of the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, rose to 156 and the number of those injured climbed to 1,080 by Tuesday, amid heightened measures to quell the violence and aid victims.
"The violence has not only impeached the peace and order of Xinjiang, it has ignited grave anger among people," said Urumqi mayor Jerla Isamudin at a press conference early Tuesday.
Violent clashes were still reported in parts of the city including Longquan Street and People's Hospital of the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, two days after the first riots broke out on Sunday night.
The authorities are sparing no efforts to protect the security of the people from all ethnic backgrounds, said the city's Party chief, Li Zhi said at the press conference.
"All rescue work for victims and arrests of suspects are being carried out in accordance with the law," Li said.
More than 1,000 emergency medical squads have been dispatched and more than 20 local hospitals have been designated as part of rescue efforts, authorities said.
The government has also mobilized personnel across agencies and groups to help victims in public places, shops and homes who were attacked by rioters. Almost 210 shops were damaged and 260 vehicles, including 11 police ones, were torched in the attacks, officials said.
"The casualty rate and loss from this incident is the most severe in the history of Xinjiang since the establishment of the People's Republic of China," Li said.
About 1,000 violent protesters were also arrested Monday afternoon near Saimachang in the Dawan area, the authorities said. Those in the mob reportedly wielded big sticks against security forces. Police searched hideouts of suspects and conducted arrests after relevant ID checks.
"If the suspects did not commit any serious crime, they will be released soon," Li said.
"But there will be zero tolerance for those found to be responsible."
Li said the authorities also had "solid evidence" that Rebiya Kadeer, the leader of the World Uygur Congress suspected of instigating the attacks, used the Internet and other forms of communication networks to mobilize rioters in the violence.
As such, the local government has put temporary restrictions on the local Internet and communications networks.
"Everything will be restored soon after the situation becomes stable," he said.