Group Claims Police Fired on Tibetans in Sichuan

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 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 , some Tibetans present argued that burning incense was not a ,” 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 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.

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