China’s government has called on protesters to turn themselves in after a crowd clashed with police over plans to demolish a mosque in the country’s southwest. President Xi Jinping’s government has tightened control over religion and society.

Protesters threw water bottles at officers with helmets and shields outside the blue-domed Najiaying Mosque in Yuxi, a city in Yunnan province, according to the videos on social media. One punched a police officer’s helmet but little other violence was shown.

Police called on criminal

suspects to turn themselves in following Saturday’s incident and said those who do might receive lighter punishment. A police statement vowed zero tolerance toward criminal activities that impede social management.

A court in 2020 ordered the Najiaying Mosque demolished after ruling it was built without official permission, according to a document on the court website. The protesters were Hui, whose ancestors were members of China’s majority Han ethnic group and adopted Islam, according to the videos.

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