NEW DELHI (AFP) — Tibetan exiles Wednesday stormed the Chinese embassy in the Indian capital in protest at new religious regulations in force since last month, witnesses and police said.
The group of between 30 and 50 Tibetans pushed open the front gate and entered the compound, surprising the small contingent of Indian police stationed near the sprawling embassy premises, the police said.
Some of the protesters, who included Tibetan monks in their trademark maroon robes, chained themselves to the flag pole inside before they were arrested, an AFP photographer witnessed.
Others sprayed "Free Tibet" in red paint on the embassy walls and the main gate before they were dragged away by Indian police.
"We took them in custody for breaching high security barriers in a diplomatic zone and they will be dealt with according to our legal procedures," a police spokesman said.
He said the situation was "normal" and the protest had ended.
The Tibetans were protesting against Chinese regulations, in effect since September 1, that state that Tibetan living Buddhas are no longer allowed to be reincarnated without permission from the atheist communist government.
Living Buddhas are an important element in Tibetan Buddhism, forming a clergy of influential religious figures who are believed to be continuously reincarnated to take up their positions anew.
China's ruling Communist party maintains strict controls over all religions.
China sent troops in to "liberate" Tibet in 1951. The Dalai Lama later fled to India in 1959 with his followers after a failed uprising and established a government-in-exile in the northern hill town of Dharamsala.
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