- Title: VARIOUS: Bloody protests in Tibet lead to international calls for dialogue
- Date: 15th March 2008
- Summary: (B12) LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM (MARCH 14, 2008) (REUTERS) 'FREE TIBET' DEMONSTRATORS CHANTING "FREE TIBET" OUTSIDE CHINESE EMBASSY POLICE STANDING AT ENTRANCE TO CHINESE EMBASSY WOMEN PROTESTERS FACING EMBASSY
- Reuters ID: LVA98PVK4XT7CKQYCFYIV75P4VWL
- Location: Belgium, India, Usa, China, United Kingdom
- Country: Usa Belgium China United Kingdom India
- Duration: 00:00:17
- Aspect Ratio:
- Topics: International Relations
- Story Text: Independence protesters burn shops and cars in the Tibetan capital Lhasa and Chinese police are reported to have shot dead at least two people in the fiercest unrest in the region for two decades.
Independence protesters burned shops and cars in the Tibetan capital Lhasa on Friday (March 14) and Chinese police were reported to have shot dead at least two people, in the fiercest unrest in the region for two decades.
China accused supporters of the exiled Dalai Lama of "masterminding" the uprising, which shatters its carefully-cultivated image of national prosperity and harmony in the build-up to the Beijing Olympic Games.
A spokesman for the Tibetan spiritual leader called the allegation "absolutely baseless". The Dalai Lama earlier appealed to China to stop using force and begin dialogue with Tibetans. Similar protests in the past have been crushed by security forces with gunfire and mass arrests.
Peaceful marches by Buddhist monks in recent days have given way to angry crowds confronting riot police.
"Now it's very chaotic outside," an ethnic Tibetan resident said by telephone. "People have been burning cars and motorbikes and buses. There is smoke everywhere and they have been throwing rocks and breaking windows. We're scared."
Radio Free Asia, quoting witnesses, said Chinese police fired on protesters, killing at least two. A source told Reuters that two Tibetans were shot dead near the Ramoche Monastery near the capital, Lhasa. The deaths could not be further verified.
Residents near the Jokhang temple in old Lhasa said they had seen lines of riot police, but none spoke of gunfire. "We are waiting to see what will happen tomorrow," said an ethnic Tibetan woman. "It could get much worse."
Up to 400 protesters gathered around a market near the Jokhang temple early on Friday and were confronted by about 1,000 police, according to a witness cited by Matt Whitticase of the Free Tibet Campaign in London.
In New Delhi, capital of India, police detained Tibetans protesting outside the Chinese embassy on Friday (March 14).
Shouting 'Free Tibet' slogans, the protesters scuffled with police who tried to stop the protest.
The demonstration was to protest at what Tibetans see as China's illegal occupation of their homeland.
In London, protesters with banners and flags held a demonstration outside the Chinese embassy on Friday (March 14).
Protesters outside the embassy chanted 'FREE TIBET - CHINESE OUT' and 'CHINA, CHINA, CHINA, OUT, OUT, OUT'.
United States told China on Friday (March 14, 2008) to act with restraint when dealing with protesters in Tibet and repeated a call for dialogue with its spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, the State Department said.
U.S. ambassador to China Clark Randt used a meeting with senior Chinese officials in Beijing to voice U.S. concern over violence in Tibet's capital Lhasa, spokesman Sean McCormack said.
"We have urged also that the Chinese government respect Tibetan culture, as well as the multiethnic nature of China today. It is very important in our view, and President Bush has expressed this view, that Chinese government open a dialogue with the Dalai Lama, and we continue to urge that,"McCormack said.
The U.S. embassy in Beijing issued a message urging Americans to defer travel to Tibet but if they were already in Lhasa to seek safe havens in hotels and elsewhere.
"Nobody benefits from violence. Nobody wants to see it. But it is very important that, in responding to these protests, that the Chinese government turn away from the use of force or violence in responding to the protests," McCormack said.
European Union leaders urged China on Friday (March 14) to show restraint in Tibet following an outbreak of violence that led to chaos on the streets of the Tibetan capital, Lhasa.
Peaceful street marches by Tibetan Buddhist monks over previous days turned into the biggest and angriest demonstrations the remote, mountainous region has seen in nearly two decades, with anti-riot police patrolling the streets just months before the Beijing Olympics.
At the end of a two-day EU summit in Brussels Slovenian Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel said consultations were under way on a statement.
"What we mean by this statement that is still being a little bit coordinated is that we urge the Chinese government to address the concerns of Tibetans with regards to issue of human rights. This is this is really the most important part of it. We would like to see some kind of reconciliation between the Chinese authorities and the Tibetan representatives. But as I said, this is a working progress, this will be a presidency statement, we have just received the information," Rupel told a news conference.
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