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Small Tibetan protests continue amid crackdown, exile groups say

March 16, 2009

Asia-Pacific News
Mar 15, 2009, 12:08 GMT

Beijing - Tibetans in China have staged several small protests in
support of the exiled Dalai Lama in the last few days, including at
least one on Saturday's anniversary of rioting last year, Tibetan exile
groups reported on Sunday.

Police detained three young Tibetan men in Kardze (Ganzi) prefecture, in
China's south-western province of Sichuan, after they shouted slogans
including 'long live the Dalai Lama' and 'independence for Tibet' on
Saturday, the Tibetan website quoted the Voice of Tibet radio
station as saying.

Three Tibetan teenage girls were also arrested on Wednesday and a lone
protester was detained on Thursday in Kardze the report said.

The Tibetan government-in-exile on Sunday reported several other
protests in recent days, including one in Kardze and one near the Sumdo
monastery in Sichuan's Ngaba (Aba) prefecture on Tuesday.

Police questioned monks from Sumdo after slogans supporting the Dalai
Lama were pasted in and around the monastery, it said.

'Tibet is virtually under undeclared martial as the Chinese government
has deployed massive paramilitary forces across the length of Tibet,'
the Tibetan government-in-exile said on its official website.

In a separate report, the website quoted sources as saying the area
around the monastery town of Rebkong in Qinghai province was 'under
military siege' and that authorities had temporarily banned the sale of
new SIM cards for mobile phones.

In Lhasa, the capital of China's Tibet Autonomous Region, where rioting
broke out on March 14 last year, troops in full battle dress reportedly
patrolled largely deserted streets in the city centre on Saturday.

The Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post and Japan's Kyodo news
agency reported an 'intimidating' atmosphere in Lhasa on Saturday.

Convoys of up to 20 armoured vehicles 'drove slowly down main streets,
with marksmen on the vehicles covering both sides of the street', the
newspaper said.

Anyone in Lhasa without a local identity card faced questioning and
possible detention, while major monasteries were sealed off, it said.

The newspaper said police operated late-night road blocks in the city
centre while 'shops and entertainment venues were ordered to shut as
early as 10 pm.'

It quoted local sources as saying that a small protest broke out around
Lhasa's Sera Monastery on Monday, one day before Tuesday's 50th
anniversary of a failed Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule.

Two military vehicles of up to 100 armed police in anti-riot gear were
outside the entrance to Sera on Friday, it said.

US-funded Radio Free Asia reported that police seized a single Tibetan
protestor on Tuesday after he shouted slogans in support of the exiled
Dalai Lama and Tibetan independence in the town of Lithang in Sichuan.

Paramilitary police sealed off almost all Tibetan areas of China to
foreign journalists and tourists since Tuesday while the government has
tightened border security, stepped up a propaganda drive and cut off
some text-messaging and other mobile telephone services in Lhasa and
other Tibetan areas.
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