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500 Tibetans detained in Nepal in protest over Lhasa torch relay

June 23, 2008

June 21, 2008

KATHMANDU (AFP) - Some 500 Tibetan exiles were held Saturday by Nepal
police after demonstrating outside the Chinese embassy against the
Olympic torch relay's visit to Tibet.

Hand-picked spectators cheered runners as the flame passed through
Tibet's capital Lhasa earlier in the day, just three months after
deadly riots against China's rule in the region.

"We have rounded up over 500 Tibetan protesters. They have been
driven to various detention centres," police officer Ramesh Thapa told AFP.

"All of them will be released later in the evening," he said.

Protesters, mostly women and monks, waved flags of the Tibetan
government-in-exile and screamed "China liar, leave Tibet," "We want
a free Tibet," and other slogans.

Riot police broke up the rally and protesters were bundled into
waiting vans and trucks after a brief tussle.

Some of the protesters carried banners reading, "No human rights, no
2008 Olympic torch in Tibet."

"Tibet is not a part of China. The Chinese government doesn't have
any rights to take Olympic torch in Tibet," 20-year-old Tsering, who
goes by one name, said before police dragged him away.

"China should not be allowed to hold Olympic games," said Sonam, 24,
another protester.

Kathmandu has seen almost daily protests since unrest erupted in
Lhasa, capital of the Tibetan region, prompting a crackdown by
Chinese security forces in March.

Authorities earlier this week detained over 700 Tibetan protesters
from the same venue, the largest number in a single day.

The same day police also arrested three top Tibetan activists for
alleged anti-China activities in Nepal.

Sandwiched between India and China, Nepal recognises Beijing's "One
China" policy that sees Tibet and Taiwan as integral parts of China.

Nepalese officials have repeatedly said no anti-China activity will
be allowed as they seek to preserve friendly ties with their giant
northern neighbour.

Nepal is home to about 20,000 exiled Tibetans who began arriving in
large numbers in 1959 after the Dalai Lama fled Tibet following a
failed uprising against the Chinese.
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