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Tibet: Tibetan monks stage peaceful protest march; one sets himself on fire

March 1, 2009

www.tibet.net  is the official website of the Tibetan government in
exile, based in Dharamshala, India.

Saturday, 28 February 2009, 1:14 p.m.
 
 Monks from Lutsang monastery in Mangra in Tsolho Tibet Autonomous
Prefecture (parts of which are incoporated into China's Qinghai
Province) march towards Mangra county government building in the early
morning hours of 25 February 2009/Photo: VOT
Dharamshala: More than one hundred Tibetan monks from Lutsang monastery
in Mangra county in the Tsolho Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture held a
peaceful protest march on 25 February, the first day of the Tibetan New
Year, while Chinese police fired shots at a Tibetan monk after he set
himself on fire in protest in Ngaba prefecture in Sichuan Province on 27
February, media reports and Tibetan rights groups said.

The monks of Lutsang monastery held a peaceful protest march from the
Lhamo Yongdzin shrine to the Mangra county center, reported Radio Free
Asia (RFA), citing a former Lutsang monk currently living in New York.

The march began at 6:30 a.m. More than 100 monks took part, gathering
first in small groups, the monk said.

"Once they reached the Mangra county center, they presented a list of
demands to the county officials," RFA quoted a Tibetan resident of
Mangra as saying.

Details of the demands were unavailable, he said, though he described
the march as ?peaceful? and aimed at upholding the "identity and
aspirations" of Tibetans.

 
 Monks from Lutsang monastery hold candle-light vigil at Mangra county
government building, on 25 February 2009
"The monks had four main demands and wishes," he said.

"First, China should understand the aspirations and thoughts of the
younger Tibetan generation. Second, China should understand that this
year?s boycott by Tibetans of Losar celebrations could be more
widespread than last year?s protests."

"Third, the monks have offered their protest and a candlelight vigil as
a gift to all Tibetans everywhere,? he said. ?And fourth, they pray for
the wishes of Tibetans to be fulfilled."

On 27 February, the local Public Security Bureau office posted a notice
calling on leaders of the march to surrender to Chinese authorities and
threatening to deal ?severely? with those who fail to turn themselves
in, another source said.

"I have just learned that Lutsang monastery is now surrounded by a force
of the People?s Armed Police," the source added. "No one is allowed to
enter or leave the monastery."

The Tibetan people living across Tibet have decided to shun celebrations
during this new year to mourn and pray for all those Tibetans who were
killed and suffering under the repressive and wrong policies of the
Chinese government.

The Chinese authorities' violent clampdown on Tibetan protesters since
10 March last year in Tibet left 219 Tibetans dead and 1294 injured.
Around 5,600 people are still under arrest or detention and more than
1000 are missing.

Chinese police open fire at Tibetan monk

A young Tibetan monk from Kirti monastery was shot by Chinese police
after he set himself on fire on 27 February, the third day of the
Tibetan New Year, in Ngaba prefecture in Sichuan province, Tibetan
rights groups said, citing eye witnesses.

Tapey, a Tibetan monk in his mid-twenties was shot by security personnel
when he set himself on fire as a form of protest after prayer ceremonies
at his monastery were cancelled, the New York based International
Campaign for Tibet said, citing several sources in the area.

On the day before the incident, monks at Kirti monastery were told by
the local authorities that they were not allowed to observe Monlam, a
traditional prayer festival that is held after Tibetan New Year (Losar),
three different sources in contact with people in Ngaba said.

Despite this order, hundreds of monks gathered outside Kirti's prayer
hall to go ahead with the prayers. But they were urged to stop by senior
monks and some local officials who feared adverse consequences,
according to the same sources, which include monks from the Kirti
monastery in Dharamsala, India. The monks then dispersed, but Tapey then
left the monastery.

Early in the afternoon, according to at least two sources including one
who spoke to an eyewitness, Tapey walked alone to a nearby crossroads in
the market area of the town. He had already doused himself with oil by
the time he reached the crossroads. He then set himself on fire and
raised a home-made Tibetan flag that had at its center a photograph of
His Holiness the Dalai Lama. When Tapey began to shout slogans (no
details are yet known of what he said), People's Armed Police (PAP)
personnel stationed nearby opened fire, and Tapey fell to the ground.

Reports indicate that the fire was extinguished by the PAP after Tapey
was shot and he was immediately taken away by police. It is not known if
he survived. Reports from the area indicate that monks are carrying out
prayer rituals for him.
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