Several Tibetans on way to celebrate Dalai Lama's birthday detained in Nepal's capital

KATMANDU, Nepal (AP) — Dozens of Tibetan exiles on their way to take part in a celebration for the Dalai Lama's birthday were detained by police on Tuesday in the Nepalese capital.

Police stopped vehicles to check for the exiles, and an Associated Press reporter saw at least 22 Tibetans detained at the Anamnagar police station before authorities told reporters to leave the premises.

Katmandu Police Chief Ramesh Kharel said the Tibetans were taken for questioning and would be soon released.

Laxmi Prasad Dhakal, Katmandu district administration chief, said the government has banned and will not tolerate protests against what it calls all friendly nations, including China.

Dhakal said the exiles will, however, be allowed to celebrate the Dalai Lama's birthday inside monasteries and refugee camps so long as the facilities do not contain slogans or banners protesting against China.

The Dalai Lama was spending his birthday in Dharmsala, India, which has been his home since he fled Tibet after a failed 1959 uprising against Chinese rule.

The Chinese government is highly sensitive about anything related to the Dalai Lama, whom it has accused of supporting independence for Tibet. Tensions in the region escalated after 2008 rioting in the Tibetan capital Lhasa, in which at least 22 people died.

Hundreds of exiles are expected to attend a celebration to mark the Tibetan spiritual leader's 75th birthday at a refugee camp in Katmandu's suburbs on Tuesday.

Tibetans living in Nepal demonstrate regularly against China, but Nepal's government has repeatedly urged the Tibetan community to obey Nepalese laws.

Tibetan protesters are generally detained by police for few hours before being released.