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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?"

India stops Tibet protest march

March 12, 2008

10 March 2008

More than 100 Tibetan exiles in India have been barred by from
marching to Tibet to protest against China holding the Olympics,
Indian police say.

The marchers left Dharamsala on the 49th anniversary of the Dalai
Lama's escape from Tibet after a failed uprising against Chinese rule.

But police in Dharamsala say they have been prevented from leaving the area.

The Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual leader, has called for greater
pressure on China over its human rights record.

In Nepal, some 1,000 Tibetan exiles have clashed with police in
Kathmandu while trying to march to the Chinese embassy.


"We have issued a restraining order to the marchers not to leave the
Kangra district and if they violate the order then all necessary
actions will be taken," district police chief Atul Phuljile told the
AFP news agency.

Protesters in Nepal were arrested

Mr Phuljile said the order had been issued at the behest of the
central government in Delhi.

The planned six-month march from India to Tibet began on Monday to
coincide with the anniversary of a failed uprising against Chinese
rule in Tibet that forced the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan Buddhist
spiritual leader, into exile in 1959.

The Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual leader, has called for greater
pressure on China over its human rights record.

Tibet activists are hoping to use China's hosting of the Olympics to
publicise their cause.

'Great impact'

Before the marchers in India set off, the Dalai Lama said he approved
of China hosting the games because it provided the world with a chance
to pressurise the Beijing government to uphold the Olympic ideals of
freedom of speech and equality.

"China should prove herself a good host by providing these freedoms.
Therefore, besides sending their athletes, the international community
should remind the Chinese government of these issues," the Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama heads the Tibetan government in exile in Dharamsala, a
northern Indian hill town.

The exiles say Tibetan identity has been suppressed

In hard-hitting remarks, the Dalai Lama also said that "repression
continues to increase with numerous, unimaginable and gross violations
of human rights, denial of religious freedom and the politicisation of
religious issues" by China.

Tibetan exile groups say the march was one of several protest events
in the run-up to the games in Beijing in August.

Organisers say they represent tens of thousands of Tibetan exiles, and
want to draw attention to what they see as Chinese suppression of
Tibetan identity.

Organisers had not given details of where or when they were going to
try to cross into Tibet.

Tear gas

Meanwhile police in the Nepalese capital, Kathmandu, say that up to 80
protesters have been arrested.

Eyewitnesses told the BBC between 1,000 to 3,000 Tibetan exiles and
their supporters gathered at a large Tibetan Buddhist shrine,
including many monks and nuns.

The BBC's Charles Haviland in Kathmandu says that police barred the
way when some protesters tried to march towards the Chinese embassy,
which lies in a different suburb.

Protests by Tibetans have also been held in other parts of the world,
including the Greek capital, Athens, where protesters were prevented
from getting into the site of Olympia, the birthplace of the ancient
Olympic Games.
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