Tibetans hold anti-China protests in Nepal despite crackdown

March 10th, 2010 - 5:26 pm ICT by IANS  

By Sudeshna Sarkar
Kathmandu, March 10 (IANS) Hundreds of Tibetans, including Buddhist monks and nuns, Wednesday remembered their forefathers’ uprising against the Chinese annexation of their land in 1959 and chanted slogans for a free Tibet in Kathmandu despite a massive police crackdown and arrests.

A dozen young Tibetans, including women, courted arrest in front of the consular office of the Chinese government in Kathmandu, from where visas to Tibet are issued, by shouting “Free Tibet” and making a dash towards the heavily guarded office.

The protests were more impressive in the Boudhanath area, the revered Buddhist shrine that forms the backbone of the Tibetan diaspora in Kathmandu.

Hundreds of Tibetans, with some westerners also joining in, waved the banned old Tibetan flag and encircled the shrine asking for the killings in Tibet by Chinese forces to stop.

“Long live the Dalai Lama”, the protesters shouted in allegiance to their exiled leader, who fled Tibet in 1959 after Chinese troops put down the rebellion ruthlessly and over 80,000 people were massacred.

They also chanted “Wake up, UN” and “Tibet’s freedom is Nepal’s security”.

Prior to the protests, the diaspora held a religious ceremony at a monastery in remembrance of the dead of 1959 as well as the hundreds of people arrested and tortured while remembering the uprising in Tibet two years ago.

The Dalai Lama’s unofficial representative in Nepal, Thinley Gyatso, read out the message issued by the Dalai Lama from Dharamshala, which calls for transparency and the free flow of information within China as the means for building greater understanding of the true situation in Tibet and greater trust between the Tibetan and Chinese peoples.

Police baton charged the protesters twice and blocked the way to the shrine so that they could not demonstrate outside.

Four protesters were arrested from Boudhanath while Tuesday night, in a preemptive bid, police arrested two more Tibetans from the same area.

Security was also beefed up in along the border Nepal shares with Tibet while the Chinese authorities have grounded flights from Kathmandu to Lhasa, the Tibetan capital, virtually closed the bridge connecting northern Nepal with Tibet and asked tour operators to suspend Tibet tours till March 28.

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