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Police, officials hurt in Sichuan riots
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Huge damage was done to shops and government offices during Sunday's riots in the Tibetan-inhabited Aba county of Sichuan province, the county government said yesterday.

Many police officers and government officials were injured during the unrest, it said.

The riots began on Sunday afternoon when a group attacked the county government building, police stations, hospitals, schools, shops and markets. The protestors shouted slogans such as "Tibet Independence", carried rocks and homemade petrol bombs, and waved the flag of the "Tibetan-government-in-exile".

They set fire to houses and shops, torched a dozen vehicles, and beat civilians, police and officials, the government said.

Meanwhile, in Gansu province, rioters attacked government offices and schools, and burnt down shops, an official with the provincial government said yesterday.

The unrest started on Saturday in about five counties of the Gannan Tibetan autonomous prefecture, in southern Gansu, Mao Shengwu, head of the prefecture, said.

"Judging from all the signs, the destruction was organized and fanned by separatists inside China and abroad to undermine social order," he said.

"But social order in the Gannan area is returning to normal," he said.

In Lhasa, where riots started on Friday, about 325 people have been injured, and the cost of the damage has risen to more than 200 million yuan ($28 million), according to the latest figures from the Tibetan regional government.

Thirteen innocent civilians were burned or stabbed to death, according to earlier reports.

Sources with the government said that by 10 pm yesterday, 170 people had turned themselves in to police for their role in the riot.

(Xinhua News Agency March 20, 2008)

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