Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

THE DEBATE

Confiscated vote? Escalation over banned Catalonia referendum

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

UN rights chief says Burma should allow in investigators

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

'I asked Macron to invest $300m in girls' education', Malala tells FRANCE 24

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

A French fortune: Lilian Bettencourt's name was synonymous with 'scandal'

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Catalan referendum debacle

Read more

PEOPLE & PROFIT

Brexit and the city: Paris, Frankfurt, Dublin vying for new business

Read more

FRENCH CONNECTIONS

Is the French Senate a retirement club for old politicians?

Read more

FOCUS

Rohingya crisis: Monks with an ultranationalist agenda

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Mexico hit by another deadly earthquake

Read more

Asia-pacific

Tibetan monks take to streets after prayer ban

Latest update : 2009-03-02

After being banned from holding a New Year's prayer on Sunday, about 50 Tibetan monks demonstrated outside the Sey Monastery in an ethnic Tibetan part of Sichuan province that was embroiled by violent protests last year.

REUTERS - Tibetan monks in a restive area of western China took to the streets calling for more religious freedom after they were banned from holding a traditional New Year's prayer ceremony on Sunday, activists said.

About 50 monks demonstrated outside the Sey Monastery in an ethnic Tibetan part of Sichuan province that was roiled by violent protests last year and where a monk set himself on fire on Friday, the Students for a Free Tibet group said.

Earlier, a large group of monks had streamed into their main temple hall to hold banned Monlam Chenmo prayers, a key part of ceremonies to mark the Tibetan New Year, but those were broken up, said the group's executive director Lhadon Tethong.

As they left the hall some went onto the street where they shouted slogans calling for religious freedom. Police stopped the protests, the monastery is now sealed and there is a heavy police presence, Tethong said, citing witnesses.

Reuters contacted several local residents but was unable to confirm the protest.

Many Tibetans have skipped traditional celebrations like fireworks and new decorations as a low-key way of marking the anniversary of a wave of unrest that spread across ethnic Tibetan areas of China last year.

But small demonstrations have flared up again in some areas.

On Friday, a young man in monk's robes set himself on fire after walking out of the Kirti monastery, just a few kilometres from the Sey monastery, State-run China Radio International reported, quoting Shi Jun, head of the local branch of the Communist Party.

Activist groups said the monk was carrying a Tibetan flag with a picture of exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama. Gunshots were heard after he was surrounded by police.

Next month also marks the 50th anniversary of the exile of the Dalai Lama, following a failed insurrection against China, and there is intense security across Tibet itself and many neighbouring areas with ethnic Tibetans.

Date created : 2009-03-02

COMMENT(S)