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Page last updated at 16:33 GMT, Sunday, 30 March 2008 17:33 UK

Nepal police halt Tibet protest

A Buddhist monk is arrested by Nepalese police outside the Chinese embassy (30 March 2008)
Police have adopted a "zero tolerance" attitude to protests

Nepalese police have arrested more than 100 Tibetan exiles and Buddhist monks who were trying to storm an office of the Chinese embassy in Kathmandu.

The protesters were beaten back from the fortified compound by police armed with bamboo batons. A Tibetan activist said a girl and a monk were badly hurt.

The anti-China demonstration was the third in the past week in the capital, which is home to thousands of Tibetans.

Earlier, the UN said the mass arrests violated rights to peaceful assembly.

The BBC Charles Haviland in Kathmandu says the authorities in Nepal have been adopting a "zero tolerance" attitude to Tibetan demonstrations for fear of annoying the country's powerful neighbour, China.

Tibet's government-in-exile says about 140 people were killed in a crackdown by Chinese security forces after protests against Chinese rule began in Tibet two weeks ago. Beijing disputes this, saying 19 people were killed by rioters.

Baton charge

In the most recent demonstration in Kathmandu, Tibetan exiles and their children tried to gain entry to the Chinese embassy's visa office near the city centre.

Shouting "stop the killing", the protesters attempted to open the office's metal gate before they were repulsed by a police baton charge.

Police sources told the BBC that 113 people were arrested outside the embassy and taken to a police barracks.

A Tibetan activist said more than 80 of those held were Buddhists monks or nuns, although he said many were wearing ordinary clothing to try to avoid being targeted by police.

A girl and a monk had been badly hurt and taken to hospital, he said.

The police said some of the injured were being treated and that everyone would be released later in the day. On most days, those arrested have been released after nightfall.

Earlier, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Nepal said the constant mass arrests violated internationally recognised rights to peaceful assembly and to freedom of expression - rights to which Nepal is a signatory.

Nepal's government has said it cannot allow the protests because it recognises Tibet as an integral part of China.


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