Alert riot police thwart Tibetan exiles’ protest

Kathmandu, March 10:

Tibetans in exile and the riot police were briefly engaged in a scuffle in the capital after a special peace prayer service was held this morning at Samten Ling Monastery in the Bouddhanath area to mark the 50th anniversary of the failed anti-China uprising.

Around 900 Tibetan exiles and Buddhist monks and nuns staged a protest against the Chinese occupation in Tibet.

Clashes broke out after 140 Tibetan exiles made a bid to break in the police cordon and take to the street at the main entrance of Bouddhanath.

Though the police was quick to push them back, they kept up the spirit by chanting popular anti-China slogans like ‘Free Tibet’ and ‘Shame, shame China’, ‘Long live the Dalai Lama’, ‘Stop the killing in Tibet’.

The protesters belonged to Tibetan Youth Congress, Nepal Chapter. “Seven people have been held for breach of law and order,” said the police.

A police inspector, who was entrusted with the responsibility of maintaining peace in Bouddha Nath, the troubled hotspot, exuded satisfaction at the way the day panned out.

“Nothing untoward happened. Though some protesters were detained, they were released later,” he said.

There was no report of violence in sensitive areas like Baluwatar and Hattisar, which house the diplomatic missions of People’s Republic of China. Security personnel had taken preventive

measures by sealing off Bhatbhateni and Kamalpokhari that lead to these areas.

Earlier, the local administration had issued prohibitory order against sit-ins, rallies and demonstration in a radius of 200 metres in Baluwatar and Hattisar. Checkpoints were also erected to thwart street protests.

The measures were in line with Nepal’s “One China Policy” that pledges not allow its territory to show dissent against its northern neighbour.