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Unprecedented Security for Dalai Lama's Visit

June 2, 2008

Paul Bibby
Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)
June 2, 2008

TWO-METRE-HIGH steel fences, weapons searches conducted with metal
detectors and hundreds of screaming protesters - it seems more
reminiscent of a fiery World Trade Organisation meeting than a visit
by the world's most respected peace advocate.

But this is the scene likely to greet the Dalai Lama when he arrives
this month to lead five days of meditation teachings at Sydney Olympic Park.

Private security consultants and NSW Police have advised the
organisers of the Dalai Lama's visit that his arrival on June 11
could be marred by protests from pro-China students and a Buddhist
splinter group known as the Western Shugden Society.

It has raised fears of a repeat of the violence that accompanied the
recent Olympic torch relay in Canberra, and has forced organisers to
implement tough security measures that are unprecedented in the Dalai
Lama's visits to this country.

"Last year when he attended the large public event in the Domain,
people could just walk in at will, but unfortunately with everything
that's going on in the world that's just not possible," the chairman
of the Dalai Lama in Australia Organisation, Ian Green, said.

"This time we have had to introduce a portable steel security fence
around the site, bag searching and metal detectors.

"I see it as very ironic that this is the world's greatest symbol of
peace and harmony and we need to put measures in place to protect him.

"I see it as rather sad that we have to do that."

Mr Green said the metal detectors had been introduced to search for
weapons on the advice of private security consultants and that the
fence would be about two metres high.

He said a large private national security firm had been hired to help
with security.

"I do expect there will be demonstrations, particularly from Chinese
students who may see this as an opportunity to demonstrate against
His Holiness," Mr Green said.

"They will be motivated by the Chinese Government's view that the
Dalai Lama is fomenting division in Tibet and they will be
demonstrating against him as they did during the recent torch relay
in Canberra."

The other potential threat comes from the Western Shugden Society, an
offshoot of Tibetan Buddhism that worships a deity denounced by the
Dalai Lama since 1996, known as Dorje Shugden.

The Dalai Lama has been followed across Germany and Britain by
protesters, with one demonstration in Nottingham attracting more than
1000 people, who accused him of being a hypocrite and a dictator.

The Dalai Lama's Sydney event, Teachings on Stages of Meditation By
Kamalashila, from June 11 to 15 at the Super Dome, is expected to
attract more than 5000 people.
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