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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Nepal police break up Tibetan protests, arrest 475, UN says

March 25, 2008


KATMANDU, Nepal (AP) - Police in Nepal's capital broke up at least two
protests by Tibetan refugees, monks and their supporters Monday and
arrested about 475 people, the United Nations said.

The U.N.'s human rights office in Nepal said the arrested included some
prominent Nepali human rights activists who joined the protests.
A demonstration in the morning near the U.N. offices in Katmandu by 200
Tibetan refugees and monks was broken up by police, who beat them with
bamboo sticks and arrested scores.

Even before the protest began, police detained people who were either on
their way to the area or gathering for the demonstration.

Police official Sarad Karki said about 245 were arrested in the Lalitpur
area, where the U.N. offices are located. The number included those
arrested during the protest and those who were detained while heading to
the venue.

The protesters demanded the U.N. investigate the recent crackdown in
Tibet by Chinese authorities.

Chanting «China, stop killings in Tibet. U.N., we want justice,» the
protesters were marching toward the U.N. offices when police stopped
them about 100 meters (300 feet) away and snatched their banners.

When the Tibetans tried to break through the police line and push ahead,
officers charged with batons and arrested scores of people, dragging
them to trucks and vans to be taken to police stations.

The second protest near Singhadurbar, where the prime minister's office
and all government ministries are located, was also stopped by police,
but less force was used.

Police official Sarvendra Khanal said 155 protesters were arrested.

The officials could not explain why the U.N. said 475 were arrested
while police said only 400.

The U.N. human rights office said it was «deeply concerned at the
arbitrary arrests and detentions of several hundred individuals.

«These actions by police violate individuals' basic rights to freedom
from arbitrary detention and freedom of movement, in addition to
impairing the individuals' rights to peaceful assembly and expression,»
the U.N. said in a statement.

Nepal has said it will not allow protests against any «friendly nation,»
including China.

International human rights groups and the U.N. have already criticized
Nepal over its use of force in the past several days against protests in
Katmandu involving some of the thousands of Tibetan refugees living in
the country.

New York-based Human Rights Watch also urged Nepal to stop doing
«Beijing's bidding» and end its crackdown on Tibetan exiles protesting
against China.

The group said last week Nepal «should cease arbitrary arrests and
detentions, harassment, and the use of excessive force to silence
Tibetan protesters, activists and journalists.

Nepal's government has good relations with neighboring China, and has
not issued any statements on Beijing's crackdown on anti-Chinese
protests in Tibet.

Nepal's border with China in the Himalayas is a key route for Tibetans
fleeing Chinese rule in the region.

Thousands of Tibetan refugees live with relatives in Nepal or in camps
funded by aid groups. Most of the refugees eventually move to India,
where Tibet's government-in-exile and its spiritual leader, the Dalai
Lama, are based.
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