Dharamsala (AsiaNews) – Indian police have forcibly put a halt to the march towards Tibet. This morning at 6.30 (local time), police stopped a group of one hundred young Tibetans on the Dehra bridge, 50 km from Dharamsala. The police first blocked Tenzin Tsundue, dragging him away as he shouted “long live Tibet!”, before forcing the rest of the group onto 5 buses. The marchers are now being held in Jawalaji prison.
Moments before his arrest, Tenzin Choeying, head of the Students for a Free Tibet, exiled in India, shouted from his mobile phone “our cause is just and our actions are non-violent, while these extreme measures taken by the Indian authorities are unfortunate, this is but a momentary set-back in our plan and we are determined to continue our March home to Tibet”.
The march towards Tibet begun on March 10th as part of a global campaign to mark the 49th year of Chinese occupation of the Himalayan nation. Participants aim to cross the border and penetrate Tibet on August 8th, in contemporary with the opening of the Beijing Olympic Games.
The young Tibetans claim their right to “return to Tibet”, but police say the march goes against a deal struck between the Delhi government and the exiled Tibetan government which is based Dharamsala, along with the Dalai Lama.
In the past India has always sympathised with the Tibetan cause. However, in recent years it has halted large scale Tibetan protests, as economic ties with China grow stronger.
The beginning of the march, on March 10th, saw in contemporary, various demonstrations by Tibetans around the world. In Nepal, an estimated 1,000 exiles clashed with police, in an attempt to march on the Chinese embassy in Kathmandu. In Lhasa, Chinese police arrested 600 Tibetan monks who were marking the beginning of Chinese repression in Tibet.
China accuses the Dalai Lama of aiming to sabotage the Olympics. But the Dalai Lama has always defended Beijing’s right to host the Games.