Nepali police detain 50 Tibetan exiles

June 27th, 2008 - 11:13 pm ICT by IANS  

Kathmandu, June 27 (DPA) The Nepali police Friday detained about 50 Tibetan exiles protesting Chinese rule of their homeland. “Around 50 Tibetans were detained by the police after they tried to cross police lines and march on to the Chinese embassy’s visa office in central Kathmandu,” the Kathmandu district police office said.

The protesters, who included Buddhist nuns and monks, carried the Tibetan flag and shouted anti-Chinese slogans before their demonstration was broken up by the police and they were bundled into waiting police vans and trucks.

The police said most of the detainees were expected to be freed by Friday night.

Tibetan refugees have been protesting regularly in Nepal since March 10, which marked the 49th anniversary of a failed uprising against Chinese rule, and have stepped up their activities as the Beijing Olympics nears.

The Nepali government has come under increasing criticism for its handling of the demonstrations.

Human rights groups have accused the Nepali police of using excessive force against the protesters and of threatening some of the refugee leaders with deportation.

Nepal said it recognises Tibet as a part of China and will not tolerate any activities that might harm its relations with its northern neighbour.

Last week, Nepali police arrested three top refugee leaders under the Public Security Act and sent them to jail. People can be held without trial for up to 90 days under that law.

Nepal is home officially to more than 20,000 Tibetans concentrated mainly in the Kathmandu Valley and Pokhara in western Nepal.

The figure does not include Tibetans who arrived in the country after 1990 because the Nepalese government stopped registering them as refugees.

Rights groups said about 3,000 Tibetans arrive in Nepal each year by crossing dangerous mountain passes and risking their lives to flee Chinese rule.

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