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Tibetans mark Olympics close with anti-China rally

August 25, 2008

Reuters
August 24, 2008

KATHMANDU, Aug 24 (Reuters) -- About 2,000 Tibetan exiles, including
children, monks and nuns, participated in a protest rally in
Kathmandu on Sunday, hours before the closing ceremony of the
Olympics in Beijing.

Maroon-robed monks and nuns with shaven heads, some with Tibetan
flags and placards calling for independence of their homeland, were
among the participants who walked silently for eight-km (five miles)
on the outskirts of the Nepali capital.

Police kept a strict vigil, snatched some flags but let the march
continue from the Boudha suburb to the ancient monastery of Swyambhu
outside the main city.

Exiles called for United Nations and other fact finding missions to
"assess the actual situation in Tibet and let the world know the truth".

Over 20,000 Tibetans still live in Nepal, the second biggest home for
them outside Tibet after India, since fleeing their homeland after a
failed uprising against Chinese rule in 1959.

Nepal, which considers Tibet as part of China -- a key aid donor and
trade partner -- says the exiles can stay in the impoverished nation
but can't organise any activities against its influential neighbour.

The refugees have managed to protest, however, and have tried to
storm a Chinese consular office in Kathmandu regularly since the
crackdown on anti-China riots in March.

About 10,000 refugees have been arrested in the past five months, but
later freed.

New-York based Human Rights Watch said last month that Nepali
authorities were under pressure from Beijing to stop Tibetan
protests, a charge China denied.

Nepal's new Maoist Prime Minister Prachanda, is in Beijing to attend
the closing of the Olympics, and scheduled to meet Chinese President
Hu Jintao and other leaders and discuss Nepal-China relations.
(Reporting by Gopal Sharma; Editing by Krittivas Mukherjee) (For the
latest Reuters news on Nepal see: in.reuters.com, for blogs see
blogs.reuters.com/in)
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