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  • » 08/12/2008, 00.00


    Anti-China protests to continue in Kathmandu throughout Olympics

    Kalpit Parajuli

    Hundreds of Tibetan exiles are protesting every day. The police arrest them, but must let them go within one day. To explain the many injuries suffered by peaceful demonstrators, the police are saying that they "injure themselves". But the population respects those who are fighting for their rights, something "more important than the competitions".

    Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - The protests of Tibetan exiles continue on a daily basis, with many Buddhist monks and nuns among those in front of the Chinese embassy in Kathmandu. And they are drawing increasing attention, despite attempts by the Nepalese authorities to repress them.

    Yesterday, many Tibetans protested in front of the Chinese embassy, in the area of Hattisar (Kathmandu), calling for a "Free Tibet". Many had the Tibetan flag painted on their faces. The police arrest hundreds of demonstrators every day, so many that they have to divide them among different precincts. But the law prohibits keeping them in jail for more than a day without charging them with a specific crime, so they are set free at night.

    There are more than 400 policemen monitoring the protests, and one of the supervisors says they are "acting under the direct orders of the government". "Some of the demonstrators", adds inspector Ganesh Ahir, "have started carrying knives, clubs, syringes, and other objects to use to attack the police". "They also use them to wound themselves, and then accuse the police".

    In recent months, the media all over the world have shown footage and photographs of the Nepalese police beating demonstrators, who are always unarmed, provoking international indignation.

    The government also had three important Tibetan leaders arrested, taking them from their homes at night, but  had to release them under orders from the supreme court. The United Nations has sharply criticized these arrests.

    There are no fewer than 20,000 Tibetan exiles in the country, who took refuge there after the failed uprising in 1959.

    Finally, the protests are attracting the sympathy of the Nepalese, who in the beginning were mostly disinterested and annoyed. More than 1,000 of them are now attending the protests, in the street or from the rooftops. Rahul Dhungana tells AsiaNews that yesterday's demonstration "makes me wonder why China is ignoring the requests of the Tibetans", who "are fighting for democracy and human rights".

    Professor Harish Chandra Gautam criticizes the police for "the beatings during the demonstrations. My heart is with the Tibetans, and I have spent hours [watching] them protest, instead of the Olympics".

    During yesterday's protest, many Nepalese left their homes to watch. Others took the Beijing Olympic flag out of their windows. Umesh Thapa, among the many in the street watching the demonstration, says that "the protest takes away the importance of the Olympics. The people fighting for their rights are much more important than the competitions".

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    See also

    04/08/2008 INDIA - TIBET - CHINA - NEPAL
    Tibetan Olympic torch, sign of freedom and justice
    In imitation of the Olympic torch, it has crossed five continents to recall the Tibetan question and Chinese repression against rights in the country, and call for Tibet's freedom. Meanwhile, yesterday in Nepal 253 pro-Tibet demonstrators were arrested.

    29/03/2008 TIBET - CHINA - NEPAL
    An armed escort for the Olympic torch, symbol of peace and fraternity
    In Nepal, the army will watch over pro-Tibet protests. Hundreds of demonstrators are already in jail in the country. The Dalai Lama asks for a "constructive dialogue", and denounces the genocide taking place. Meanwhile, the European Union has not decided to take any action against the repression, and Western diplomats are letting themselves be "led around" in Lhasa, under careful supervision.

    18/04/2008 CHINA - TIBET -NEPAL
    Hundreds of arrests among Tibetans in Nepal, but the Chinese are preparing counter-demonstrations
    Zero tolerance in Kathmandu, where the police have arrested more than 500 peaceful Tibetan demonstrators. In China, anti-foreign protests are growing, together with calls to boycott foreign merchandise. Tomorrow tens of thousands of Chinese abroad will protest against the "lies" of the media, and in favour of the Olympics.

    03/05/2008 CHINA - TIBET
    Beijing will have Tibetans carry the torch on Everest
    The Chinese government confirms: among the 50 climbers who will carry the Olympic symbol to the roof of the world, there will also be Tibetans. The climb should begin on May 5, while envoys from the Dalai Lama are arriving in Beijing to find a "common solution" to the crisis of Tibet.

    08/08/2008 NEPAL - TIBET - CHINA
    8-8-2008: A "normal" day of arrests in Nepal and China
    Thousands of Tibetans protest in Kathmandu: the police load them onto wagons "like cattle" and arrest hundreds of them. In Beijing, a human rights activist is in jail after asking for permission to conduct a public demonstration today.

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