Police in a Tibetan region of Sichuan province opened fire on a crowd that had gathered to celebrate the Dalai Lama’s birthday on Saturday, according to the U.S.-based International Campaign for Tibet. From Reuters:
“Large numbers of armed police and soldiers were deployed, with one source reporting at least seven army trucks and police vehicles at the scene,” the group said in an e-mail on Tuesday.
“The security forces attempted to prevent Tibetans from making their offerings and gatherings, but according to two Tibetan sources in exile, some Tibetans present argued that burning incense was not a crime,” it added in the statement.
“Without warning, according to several Tibetan sources, police opened fire on the unarmed crowd and used tear-gas.”
Two monks were shot in the head and several others seriously injured, the group added. [Source]
On its web site, the International Campaign for Tibet reported that a number of Tibetans were detained and at least 20 remain in custody. The group also published a graphic photo of a Tibetan monk being treated for a serious head injury.
Sources told The Associated Press that at least six Tibetans were injured in the incident:
Tawu Lobsang Jinpa, a former prisoner living in exile in India, said he was told of the shootings by a Tibetan Buddhist monk who was caring for one of those injured in the Saturday clash. The London-based International Campaign for Tibet said it confirmed the shooting, in which one monk suffered a serious head wound.
They both said police fired guns and tear gas at about 500 Tibetans attempting to hold commemorations by scaling a hillside to burn incense and hang prayer flags calling for good health for the 78-year-old Dalai Lama, Tibet’s traditional Buddhist leader who has been denounced as a political opportunist since escaping amid an abortive uprising against Chinese rule in 1959. [Source]
Tibetan web portal Phayul added that “the situation remains tense” with a heavy police presence around the local monastery.