Tibetan Exiles in India Continue Protest March

More than 200 Tibetan exiles led by Buddhist monks restarted their march to Tibet on Saturday after spending more than a week staging protests in the Indian capital.

The demonstrators have vowed to march from India to Tibet, where they plan to arrive in their homeland at the start of the Olympics in August.

Marchers carrying pictures of the Dalai Lama, Tibetan flags and "Free Tibet" banners left New Delhi early Saturday for the next leg of their trip.

"Now we have a group of Tibetans, all like-minded people who just want to go home," said Pema Richeson, one of the marchers.

Richeson said the group expects to cover about 12 miles each day. Their next stop is likely to be Ghaziabad, in neighboring Uttar Pradesh state, she said.

Their journey began March 10 in the Indian city of Dharmsala, the headquarters of the Tibetan government-in-exile, but was swiftly stopped by Indian officials, who feared the protest march would embarrass China. Indian police even detained a group of the marchers for two weeks.

The protesters restarted their walk March 15, and since then Indian officials have allowed it to proceed, although local police accompany them almost the entire way.

The marchers had been in New Delhi since April 9, participating in protests that coincided with the Olympic torch passing through the Indian capital.

India is home to the world's largest Tibetan exile community, with more than 100,000 exiles.