Nepal's Violent Crackdown on Tibetan Anniversary

The Boudhanath Stupa in Kathmandu has for centuries been a holy place for Tibetans. It is also where Tibetans in Nepal have often demonstrated against Chinese rule in Tibet. On the morning of March 10, 2011, the 52nd anniversary of the uprising in Lhasa that was thwarted by Chinese Communists, the presence of over 1,000 Nepali police deployed throughout the city sends a strong message to Tibetans who may be thinking of marking the anniversary with protests...

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Riot police congregate outside the main gate of the Boudhanath Stupa...

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Sharing a joke before things turn serious...

An elderly Tibetan woman circles the stupa chanting prayers as more police converge on the area...

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Inside Samteling Monastery, located on a side-street near the stupa, about 1,000 Tibetans have gathered to hear the annual address of the Dalai Lama that is broadcast on loudspeaker from Dharamsala, India. In recent years, as a result of pressure from Beijing, even social and cultural gatherings of Tibetans have been labeled 'anti-China' activities by Nepali authorities.

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The Tibetan community has been warned that if they take a single Tibetan national flag beyond the monastery gate, there will be trouble...

2011-03-18-DSCF1831.jpg PHOTO: Rebecca Novick A coalition of international human rights groups are present to monitor the event. Many Nepalis have joined as voluntary observers....

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Outside the monastery gate, the tension builds as a police move in. "Should I be worried?" asks a young American tourist.

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The police are armed with lathis, six-foot-long bamboo sticks. A local reporter tells me that their riot gear is a gift from the Chinese Embassy...

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A young Tibetan man with a Tibetan flag over his shoulder walks nonchalantly out of the monastery into the street, slipping through the police cordon unnoticed. He saunters alone down the street and poses proudly for this photo. Seconds later, the woman on the right snatches the flag out of his hand. "You're asking for trouble," she scolds.

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Without warning, the police storm the courtyard and begin snatching flags from the Tibetans inside who begin to shout and wail in protest...

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The incursion angers the crowd. People begin pushing their way out of the gate, and through the police line, chanting freedom slogans. Police begin to beat, kick, and punch them indiscriminately, pulling one man along by the prayer beads around his neck. Watch the video from Euronet. And The Telegraph UK.

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In a risky move, a Tibetan teenage boy sticks a Tibetan flag onto the back of a police officer. A few seconds later, a Tibetan man rips it off....

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"What have I done wrong? All I did was lose my country," cries a man wearing a shirt on which he's written: 'Stop Killing in Tibet'...

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A strange dance ensues as reporters, human rights observers and a few tourists rush to surround people as they're being beaten....

2011-03-18-DSCF1922.jpg PHOTO: Rebecca Novick A woman looks on in horror as a young police officer moves in to strike a middle-aged Tibetan woman. The police officer raises his stick as she bends her head down before him. "Beat me," she says. She is later arrested...

2011-03-18-DSCF1931.jpg PHOTO: Rebecca Novick A Western monk tries to reason with the Deputy Superintendent of police...

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Girls from a local school hold hands tightly and shout "We want justice!" just yards away from the skirmish. Earlier, police had visited local Tibetan schools and ordered the children to stay inside...

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Four people are arrested at Boudhanath. Seven more are arrested later in the afternoon at a protest near the Chinese Embassy...

2011-03-18-injury2_march10.jpg PHOTO: Courtesy of Yeshi A young woman is one of 21 Tibetans injured during the police action...