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Pro-Tibet protesters arrested after clashes at Chinese embassy

February 2, 2009

Prime minister Wen Jiabao greeted with boos and jeers during London visit

* Mark Tran and agencies
*, Sunday 1 February 2009 16.11 GMT

Police arrested five pro-Tibet protesters during scuffles with police in
London today as Wen Jiabao, the Chinese prime minister, arrived at the
Chinese embassy.

The men were detained after trying to push past officers to get to the
doors of the building. A spokesman for the group of about 200
demonstrators said a small number of them were trying to take the Free
Tibet flag to the doors of the building.

Wen was greeted with boos and jeers when he arrived at the embassy, near
Regents Park in London, where members of the Free Tibet group faced
pro-Chinese protesters on opposite sides of the road. On the Chinese
side there was traditional drumming, dragon dancing and firecrackers to
welcome the Chinese leader.

Ugyan Norbu, who has lived in Britain for 30 years but comes from
south-west Tibet, said: "For too long the British government have
appeased the Chinese government. The British government is in the best
position to negotiate with the Chinese on Tibet. I know the British
people won't let us down but the British government are still appeasing
the Chinese."

The protests passed off largely peacefully and broke up shortly after
2pm, the police said.

Wen is in Britain for three days before visiting Germany, Spain, the EU
in Brussels and the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Before
visiting the embassy, Wen discussed the economic crisis with David
Cameron, the Conservative leader, and William Hague, the shadow foreign
secretary. Wen will hold talks with Gordon Brown, the prime minister, at
Downing Street tomorrow, where protesters are expected to gather again.

Pro-Tibet groups have said they would hold demonstrations throughout the
trip. In March 2008, unrest broke out in Tibet after the 49th
anniversary of the Tibetan uprising of 1959. The Chinese crackdown on
protesters resulted in the reported deaths of a hundred people. Wen is
the first leader to visit Britain since last year's protests in Tibet.

Pro-Tibet protesters want Brown to raise the issue of human rights in
Tibet and specifically raise the fate of 1,000 Tibetans whose fate is
unknown after last year's unrest in the country.
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