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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

Nepal police break up Tibet protests, 284 held

April 2, 2008

By Gopal Sharma

KATHMANDU, March 31 (Reuters) - Nepali police beat pro-Tibet protesters
with sticks in Kathmandu on Monday and detained more than 280 people for
demonstrating against China, police and officials said, hinting at a
bigger crackdown on protesters.

Hundreds of Tibetans split up into small groups and tried to storm a
Chinese consular office from different directions in the Nepali capital.

In what has become a familiar sight in Kathmandu in recent weeks, they
waved signs and shouted slogans demanding independence for their
Himalayan homeland, only to face beatings and detention.

The government later said it might have to take sterner action to ban
such protests altogether, because of a commitment made to Beijing to
prevent anti-China activities on Nepalese soil.

"We may have to think to stop all these activities against China," said
Modraj Dotel, a spokesman for the Home Ministry. "They talk against
China. They raise anti-China slogans and carry placards and banners
against China."

Exiled Tibetans have been protesting regularly ever since a deadly riot
broke out in the Tibetan capital Lhasa on March 14 followed by
demonstrations in other Tibetan areas of China.

Many Tibetans are furious over the crackdown against protesters in Tibet
and resent China's decades-old rule of the Himalayan region.

The Lhasa riot broke out after days of protests centred on the
anniversary of the failed 1959 Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule.

In Kathmandu, police broke up the rallies, grabbed the protesters by
their arms or clothes and hauled them into iron-meshed vans or trucks.

"We want full freedom for Tibet," 40-year-old Sonam Dolma said. "Until
then we will continue to protest and make the world listen to our voice."

Police said at least 284 men and women had been detained and would be
freed later.

"They have been detained according to the government policy of not
allowing demonstrations against China," said Bibhutiraj Pandey, a police
officer from the scene.

More than 20,000 ethnic Tibetans live in Nepal.

Nepal, which gets development grants from the Chinese government,
accepts Tibet as part of China. (Reporting by Gopal Sharma; Editing by
Bappa Majumdar and Sanjeev Miglani)
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