Afghan police fired on hundreds of people Monday while trying to break up a violent protest against a provincial governor in the nation's north.

Hospital sources in Shiberghan, the capital of Jowzjan province say at least nine people were killed and more than 30 others were wounded in the violence.

Hundreds of protesters had gathered to demand the removal of the governor of Jowzjan province, Juma Khan Hamdard. Witnesses say the rally turned violent when demonstrators began to throw stones at government offices.

Provincial authorities say police opened fire to prevent protesters from storming the government buildings. They say that some of the protesters were armed.

The demonstrators are believed to be supporters of former military commander Abdul Rashid Dostum, an ethnic Uzbek.

Afghanistan's President Hamid Karzai has ordered an investigation into the violence.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.