Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Chinese troops use teargas to halt Tibet monks' second day of protest

Jane Macartney, of The Times, in Beijing

Thousands of Chinese paramilitary police and troops have been deployed across the Tibetan capital after hundreds of monks tried to stage a second protest in two days.

Witnesses described helmeted soldiers firing teargas yesterday to try to disperse more than 600 monks as they attempted to march out of the Sera monastery on the edge of Lhasa. The monks were forced to halt virtually at the gates of the monastery, after police at a station just outside the main entrance called in the military.

The monks, shouting “Release our people”, demanded the return of 11 monks detained on Monday after staging an anti-Chinese protest in front of the Jokhang Temple — the holiest site in Tibetan Buddhism — in the heart of the city. That protest coincided with demonstrations by about 500 monks from the sprawling Drepung monastery just outside Lhasa.

The demonstrations demanding Tibetan independence and showing support for the exiled Dalai Lama are the largest in the restive region since authorities imposed martial law after riots by anti-Chinese protesters rocked Lhasa in March 1989. Link to the Article.

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