10/04/2010, 00.00
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Nepalese police block election of Tibetan government in exile

Confiscated thousands of ballots used to elect the Prime Minister and members of the Tibetan parliament in exile, formally authorized by local authorities. Tibetan activists accuse Nepalese government and police of implementing a crackdown in league with Beijing.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - The Nepali police have blocked the election of the Tibetan government in exile, despite the approval of local authorities. Yesterday in Kathmandu, the police raided polling stations, confiscating thousands of ballots used by the Tibetan community to elect members of parliament and prime minister of Tibetan government in exile in India. The action has sparked protests by Tibetan activists, who accuse the government and police of implementing a real crackdown against them in league with China.

Tenzin Choeying, responsible for India's Students for a Free Tibet, says: "There are about 20 thousand Tibetans living in Nepal today. Most of them live in the valley of Kathmandu and the district of Pokhara. They complain of constant aggression and intimidation by the police. " Choeying stresses that for some time now Tibetans are not allowed to come together to celebrate traditional festivals or pray together and activities of all pro-Tibet movements are held under close police surveillance. "In July - he adds - we were not even allowed to celebrate the birthday of the Dalai Lama. The government had deployed hundreds of police in the towns of Swayambhunath and Boudhath, home to the most famous temples and Buddhist monasteries of Nepal”.

After the invasion of Lhasa in 1950 and the exile of the Dalai Lama in India (1959), Nepal has hosted thousands of refugees fleeing from Tibet, enabling them to support the government in exile. With the fall of Nepal's monarchy in 2006 and the rise to power of the Maoist parties (Unified Communist Party of Nepal) and Marxist-Leninist Party (Unified Marxist-Leninist), the country has signed economic deals with Beijing, prohibiting exiles any kind of anti-Chinese demonstration. As early as 2008 on the occasion of the Beijing Olympics, the government forcibly restricted all protest marches. (N.C.)

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