Germany issues travel warning for Tibet as protests spread

March 14th, 2008 - 11:37 pm ICT by admin  

Berlin, March 14 (DPA) Germany’s foreign ministry issued a travel warning for Tibet Friday after protests triggered by Buddhist monks led to riots in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa. “The federal government is watching developments in Lhasa with concern and calls on all parties to avoid violence,” a foreign ministry spokesman said.

Peaceful demonstrations are a legitimate manifestation of the right to freedom of expression, the spokesman said.

“In view of the unclear situation, the foreign ministry advises against travel to the autonomous region of Tibet,” he added.

The ministry warned travellers already in the country to exercise caution and follow the instructions of the security forces.

The protests apparently began Monday, the 49th anniversary of a Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule that was crushed by troops. The Dalai Lama, Tibetan Buddhism’s highest leader, fled to India after the uprising.

The ministry said the extent of this week’s protests was unclear, but warned that a spread of the unrest could not be ruled out.

Witnesses said protesters attacked police in Lhasa and tore down a Chinese flag in the square outside the Jokhang temple, the holiest site in the capital for Tibetan Buddhists.

Paramilitary reinforcements were reportedly sent to major monasteries in the region to control unrest there.

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