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"We Tibetans are looking for a legitimate and meaningful autonomy, an arrangement that would enable Tibetans to live within the framework of the People’s Republic of China."

Tibetans protest in Nepal's capital

March 11, 2009

March 10, 2009

Tibetan activists participate in a protest march on the 50th anniversary of the Tibetan uprising, at Boudhanath in Kathmandu yesterday

Some 150 Tibetan exiles screaming "Free Tibet" staged a protest in Nepal’s capital yesterday as they marked the 50th anniversary of a failed uprising against China.

Protesters including monks and schoolchildren, screamed "Stop the killing in Tibet” and “Long live the Dalai Lama," as they scuffled with riot police inside a monastery.

Around six protesters were detained and bundled into a waiting police truck but were released minutes later.

"Today is a very sad day for me because we Tibetans have lost our identity for the past 50 years due to China’s military rule in Tibet," protester Sonam Tashi, 32, told AFP as he waved the flag of the Tibetan government-in-exile. “We want our identity and freedom back.”

Earlier in the day, around 1,000 Tibetans gathered at the monastery amid tight security and recited prayers for peace in their homeland while commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Dalai Lama’s escape to exile.

Government officials said extra police were mobilised around the Chinese embassy building and the monastery to stop any possible anti-China demonstrations in Nepal’s capital.

"Security has been kept on high alert and additional police have been deployed to prevent any pro-Tibet protests," said home ministry spokesman Nabin Ghimire.

Nepal, which has a democratically elected Maoist government, has repeatedly said it will not tolerate anti-China activity as it seeks to preserve friendly ties with its northern neighbour.

Sandwiched between India and China, Nepal has upheld Beijing’s "One China" policy that views Tibet as an integral part of China.

The country is home to around 20,000 exiled Tibetans who began arriving in large numbers in 1959 after the Dalai Lama fled the region after a failed uprising.

Worldwide protests erupted last year after China’s crackdown on demonstrators inside Tibet marking the March 10 anniversary of the failed uprising against Chinese rule. AFP
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