ibnlive » India

Mar 13, 2008 at 01:18pm IST

Protesting Tibetans' march halted, 100 arrested

Dehra, (Dharamsala): Police arrested around 100 Tibetans on Thursday, dragging them into waiting police vans, as they tried to march to the Chinese border to press claims for independence and protest the Beijing Olympics.

The marchers, mainly Tibetans but including a few foreigners, were arrested one by one after they sat down on a road to protest police restrictions on their march at Dehra, more than an hour's drive from Dharamsala.

The marchers set off on Monday as part of global protests to mark the 49th anniversary of an uprising against Chinese rule, leaving Dharamsala, home to Tibet's spiritual leader the Dalai Lama and the refugees' ‘government-in-exile’.

FIGHT FOR FREEDOM: Tibetan activists have vowed to reach their motherland by any means.

Police had told the marchers they were not to leave the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh until further notice.

"The march will continue and we are determined. Each one us. No one can stop us, we will reach our motherland," said Lobsang Yeshi, chief coordinator for the march.

"The arrests were made on the instruction of the Central Government. The activities are destroying the Beijing Olympics. The Beijing Olympics is a dark bloody Olympics," he said.

Police said they are acting on orders of the Central Government to restrain the marchers, since they were in breach of an agreement not to conduct ‘anti-Chinese activities’ on Indian soil.

As the Olympics approach, Tibetans are trying to reinvigorate their freedom movement and protest against what they see as China's illegal occupation of their homeland.

Earlier this week, thousands of Chinese security personnel fired tear gas to try to disperse more than 600 monks taking part in a second day of rare street protests in Tibet.

The Dalai Lama has rejected a Chinese accusation that he was trying to sabotage the Olympics, saying he always supported Beijing's right to host the Games.

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