KATMANDU, Nepal – Police used bamboo batons to disperse about 100 Tibetan protesters and Buddhist monks in Katmandu on Monday, arresting around 30 in the latest crackdown on pro-Tibet demonstrations in neighboring Nepal.
The protesters were demonstrating peacefully near the main U.N. office in Katmandu, holding banners reading "Free Tibet" and demanding the United Nations investigate a Chinese crackdown on protests inside Tibet.
But police quickly moved in to break up the gathering, dragging protesters away and throwing them into the back of trucks that then took them to a nearby detention center. There was no word on whether they would be charged with any crimes or simply released, as is common in Nepal.
Tibetan exiles in neighboring India, meanwhile, held a similar protest outside U.N. offices in New Delhi. But police allowed them to gather peacefully, and U.N. staff met with a few of the leaders before the protest ended.
The demonstrations in Nepal and New Delhi followed a week of protests against Chinese rule in Tibet that culminated in violence Friday when Tibetans attacked ethnic Chinese and torched their shops in Lhasa, the region's capital. Officials there said 16 people died in the violence, but exiled Tibetans say as many as 80 people may have been killed.
Throughout the past week, major Tibetan exile communities, including ones in Nepal and India, have organized their own protests, often clashing with authorities who do not wish to jeopardize improving relations with Beijing.
A Nepali police official said he had received orders from top officials to break up Monday's protest with whatever force was necessary. He spoke on condition of anonymity, citing police policy.
A rally Saturday outside the U.N. offices in Katmandu was also forcibly broken up by police.
U.N. officials have not made any comments about the crackdown on protests outside their offices.
Mountain climbers are also being told by Nepalese officials that the summit of Mount Everest, which straddles the Nepali-Chinese border, will be off limits during the first 10 days of May, when China, the host of this year's Summer Olympics, plans to carry the Olympic torch up its side of the mountain. The move is aimed at heading off any high-altitude confrontation over Tibet's future.
Nepal's border with China in the Himalayas is a key route for Tibetans fleeing Chinese rule in the region. Most of the refugees eventually move to India, where Tibet's government-in-exile and the Tibetans' spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, are based.
A travel warning was issued by the U.S. Department of State Saturday asking Americans to defer travel to Tibet until at least April 14.