KATHMANDU (AFP) — At least 44 Tibetan exiles shouting "Free Tibet" were detained in the Nepal capital on Monday after police broke up two protests outside a UN complex, using sticks and tear gas.
Some 30 of them were taken into custody after 100 people held a morning protest outside the UN compound while, 14 were held when 250 staged a demonstration later in the day.
The Tibetans said they wanted to pressure the United Nations to investigate a crackdown by Beijing on the fiercest uprising against Chinese rule of the Himalayan region in nearly two decades.
The 44 detained Tibetans would be freed later on Monday, a police officer said, asking to remain unnamed.
The demonstrators included Tibetan monks and nuns who were hit during police baton charges, according to an AFP photographer, but the police officer said he had no information about any injuries. Tear gas was also fired.
"I don't know why police are attacking our peaceful demonstration. We've gathered here to put pressure on the United Nations to investigate the crackdown on Tibetans in Lhasa," protester Tashi Lama, 29, told AFP.
Exiled Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader the Dalai Lama called Sunday for an international probe into the situation in his homeland, which he fled in 1959 after an abortive uprising against Chinese rule.
Some 20,000 Tibetan refugees have lived in Nepal for decades after large numbers started coming over the Himalayas in 1959 following the uprising.
Today, around 2,500 still arrive annually at a UN-run reception centre in Kathmandu and then most proceed to Dharamshala in northern India, home of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government-in-exile.
Tibet's exiled prime minister Samdhong Rinpoche said on Monday around 100 people died in unrest in the Chinese-ruled region, while the Tibetan parliament in exile reported "hundreds" killed.
China has rejected charges many have died in the unrest, saying Tibetan rioters killed 13 "innocent civilians" during violent protests in Lhasa, and that it did not use "lethal" force to quell the rioting.
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