KATMANDU, Nepal — Nepalese police detained more than 100 Tibetan exiles on Tuesday who had gathered to pray for nine Tibetans who set themselves on fire to protest against Chinese rule.
About 400 Tibetans, including 150 monks, held a prayer meeting on the outskirts of Katmandu in honor of the monks, former monks and a nun who have immolated themselves since March in a restive Tibetan area of western China that is under martial law-type police controls. At least five died of their injuries, while the condition of the others is not known.
Nepalese police in riot gear entered the prayer meeting at the Tibetan Refugee Center and pulled down a banner of the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama. This angered the Tibetans at the meeting, who poured into the streets to protest. They chanted anti-China slogans calling for a free Tibet and for China to “leave our home.”
More than 100 protesters were taken in trucks to detention centers, according to a police officer at the scene who did not want to be identified because he was not authorized to talk to reporters.
The monks were not among those detained.
There have been a number of similar protests in the past in Nepal. Police generally don’t charge the protesters and they are usually released by nightfall.
Nepal’s government has said it cannot allow protests against friendly nations, including China. Nepal is also under pressure from the Chinese government to stop them.
Thousands of Tibetans live in Nepal and hundreds pass through Nepal on their way from Tibet to Dharmasala in India where the Dalai Lama lives.