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Protesting Tibetan exiles arrested in Nepal

  • Story Highlights
  • 84 Tibetan exiles arrested for illegal protest at China's embassy in Kathmandu
  • Arrested included 39 women and 45 men -- most of them Tibetan nuns and monks
  • About a dozen Tibetan exiles scaled walls of U.N. compound in Kathmandu Friday
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From Manesh Shrestha
CNN
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KATHMANDU, Nepal (CNN) -- Nepalese police arrested 84 Tibetan exiles who were staging an illegal protest at China's embassy visa office in Kathmandu on Saturday, a continuation of anti-Chinese demonstrations that began earlier in the month.

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Nepalese police detain a Tibetan female monk during a protest in front of the Chinese embassy in Kathmandu.

A senior police official said his officers did not use force while arresting the protesters, including 39 women and 45 men -- most of them Tibetan nuns and monks.

Police sometimes use bamboo sticks to hit protesters which can cause minor injuries.

About a dozen young Tibetan exiles scaled the walls of the United Nations compound in Kathmandu Friday, a U.N. source told CNN.

They were described as children -- dressed in school uniforms -- between the ages of 13 and 16.

Also on Friday, police sources said authorities arrested 32 Tibetan protesters. Twenty-seven were arrested in front of the U.N. compound, with five others taken into custody in another part of town at a Buddhist monument.

There has been a steady parade of demonstrators in Kathmandu since China began a crackdown on anti-Chinese demonstrators in its Tibetan regions two weeks ago.

Speaking at a news conference in New Delhi, India, the Dalai Lama on Saturday called China's policy in Tibet "demographic aggression," and said "some kind of cultural genocide is taking place."

Beijing has blamed the Dalai Lama and his followers for violence that erupted amid protests for Tibetan independence earlier this month, but China has drawn international criticism for its crackdown on the protests that began peacefully. Photo See images of the protests in Tibet. »

Also on Saturday, the U.S. embassy in Beijing said that a U.S. diplomat had visited Lhasa on a "heavily-scheduled" Chinese-organized trip to Tibet on Friday and Saturday.

"Neither the U.S. nor other participants were able to deviate from the official itinerary," the embassy said in a statement. "The delegation was not permitted to move about independently in Lhasa, and was unable to hold unsupervised conversations with local residents."

The U.S. diplomat and the "other participants," whom the embassy did not identify, met with government officials in Tibet and toured damaged areas of Lhasa and two hospitals, the embassy said.

The American diplomat emphasized the "need for free access to Tibet and other areas" affected by the unrest, and urged China to "exercise restraint, to engage in dialogue, and to respect the fundamental right of all citizens to peacefully express their religious and political views."

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The embassy hailed the trip a step "in the right direction," but added that it would "continue to ask for other opportunities" for embassy staff "as well as international and domestic journalists, to travel to Lhasa and affected areas."

Earlier this week, China offered some media organizations -- not including CNN -- a carefully managed tour of Tibet's capital, but ran into a public-relations roadblock when a group of Buddhist monks began screaming protests at a holy shrine. Read CNN statement on Tibet coverage. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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