Nepal detains 500 demonstrating Tibetan exiles

August 14th, 2008 - 9:59 pm ICT by IANS  

Kathmandu, Aug 14 (DPA) Police in Nepal Thursday broke up anti-China demonstrations by Tibetan exiles near the Chinese embassy and detained over 500 demonstrators. More than 800 Tibetans gathered in small groups shouting anti-China slogans and denouncing the Beijing Olympic Games before they were detained by the police.

The demonstrators, including monks and nuns, carried banners depicting killings in Tibet by the Chinese forces and shouted “down with IOC” for letting the games be held in China.

“Nearly 500 demonstrators were detained during Thursday’s protests,” Kathmandu district police said. “The Tibetans were arrested after they tried to break lines and march on the Chinese embassy consular section.”

Earlier this month, the government banned protests around the Chinese embassy and its consular section and warned of tougher actions against those violating the order.

However, the police said most protesters were expected to be released by Thursday night.

Tibetan exiles have held almost daily protests in Nepal since March 10 and have intensified their protests since the start of the Olympic Games on Aug 8.

Nearly 20,000 Tibetans are officially listed as refugees in Nepal. However, several thousand more have not been given that status after the government stopped recognising arrivals after 1989 as refugees.

Human rights organisations say an estimated 3,000 Tibetans cross the Himalayan passes each year, risking their lives to escape Chinese rule in Tibet.

Nepal has come under growing criticism over its handling of the Tibetan protests. Human rights organisations say thousands of Tibetans have been arrested since the anti-China protests began in March.

Nepal, which recognizes Tibet as an integral part of China, will not allow anti-China protests in the country because it would affect relations with its northern neighbour.

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