Nepal detains 600 Tibetan protesters

August 8th, 2008 - 2:54 pm ICT by IANS  

Kathmandu, Aug 8 (DPA) Nepalese police Friday detained nearly 600 Tibetan exiles participating in anti-China protests in the Nepali capital on the day the Beijing Olympic Games open. Small groups of Tibetans gathered near the consular section of the Chinese embassy, defying a government ban on protests in the area.

Many Tibetans wearing “Free-Tibet” T-shirts and with their faces painted with Tibetan national flags chanted anti-China slogans.

The police stopped the protestors several hundred metres from the embassy office and bundled them into waiting trucks to be driven off to detention centres.

“We will protest around the Chinese embassy throughout the day,” said a protest organiser who did not wish to be named. “We must highlight the situation in Tibet.”

As one group of protesters were loaded unto trucks, another group appeared to continue the demonstration.

“So far, we have detained nearly 600 Tibetans for violating government orders,” police officer Ramesh Thapa said. “We expect more arrests during the day.”

The Nepalese government had beefed up security around the Chinese embassy consular section, expecting protests coinciding with the Olympics.

Friday’s demonstrations came a day after Tibetan exiles organised the biggest anti-China protest in Nepal since they began in March. It drew nearly 2,000 participants.

Nepal has come under growing criticism over its handling of the Tibetan protests. Human rights organisations said thousands of Tibetans have been arrested in Nepal.

The Nepalese government, which recognises Tibet as an integral part of China, said it would not allow anti-China protests in the country because it would effect its relations with its northern neighbour.

Nearly 20,000 Tibetans are officially listed as refugees in Nepal.

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