Thousands of ethnic Han Chinese rioted in the western city of Urumqi today, destroying shops and property belonging to Muslim Uighurs in retaliation for Han deaths over the weekend, the Guardian reports. Police tried to disperse the mob with tear gas, but many rioters remained, throwing rocks at mosques and threatening Uighur residents. “They attacked us. Now it’s our turn to attack them,” said one rioter.
“We’re here to demand security for ourselves,” said another. “They killed children in cold blood.” Some crowd members said they believed the Uighurs were coming to attack them. At least 156 people have died since violence broke out in the region during the weekend. The government has called the riots the worst the People’s Republic has ever seen.