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Scuffles at Chinese embassy

December 11, 2007

December 10, 2007

SCUFFLES have broken out during a protest in Canberra over human rights
in Tibet, with demonstrators clashing with police after one protester
tried to jump the fence of the Chinese embassy.

Police were quick to restrain a group of around 20 protesters, including
women and children, who followed the young man and began to throw
placards and flags over the gates of the embassy.

Police made no arrests and allowed the protesters to continue their
organised march into the city centre.

Protesters from the Australian Tibetan community had met outside the
embassy this morning to call on the Federal Government to stand up to
China over its human rights record.

The scuffle broke out after a failed attempt by the protesters to hand
the Chinese embassy a letter outlining their concerns.

One protester who was restrained by police, Pentap Dugeak, 26, said
tempers flared after the security guard at the embassy refused to take
the letter.

"The emotion ran really high and a lot of Tibetans wanted to pass the
message directly to the embassy staff about what's happening in Tibet,"
he said.

"The Chinese Government don't have the guts to listen to one of the most
peaceful people and I think a lot of young Tibetans nowadays across the
globe are trying to tell the Chinese Government to resolve the Tibet issue."

Simon Bradshaw of the Australia-Tibet Council said it was an emotional
issue for many Tibetans.

"Tibetans are always deeply committed to a non-violent compassionate
struggle but this is a very emotional issue for a lot of people," he said.

Protest organiser Tsewang Thupten said China continued to impose
policies that destroyed the culture, environment and economy of Tibet,
which it occupied in 1951.

"We need to draw attention to the fact that the Chinese Government, for
over 50 years, has been relentlessly pursuing a policy of cultural
genocide and repression of the rights of the Tibetan people under the
illegal occupation," Mr Thupten said.
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