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Tibet protest in Sydney turns violent
AAP[Sunday, March 16, 2008 04:13]
A 31-year-old man has been charged with assaulting police after four pro-Tibet activists were arrested during a protest outside Sydney's Chinese consulate.

Members of the Australian Tibetan community have apologised for the behaviour of some protesters at the consulate on Dunblane Street, Camperdown, about 4.15pm (AEDT) on Saturday after an outbreak of deadly violence in the Tibetan capital Lhasa.

Police said the protest escalated when activists climbed onto the front gate of the consulate before damaging a flag inside.

"A police officer was allegedly hit over the head with a placard before being punched and kicked," a NSW police statement said.

Officers used capsicum spray to control the crowd of about 100 people.

Four people were arrested during the protest, but three were later released.

A 31-year-old man has been charged with common assault and assaulting police.

He was granted bail and is due to appear at Newtown Local Court on April 4.

President of the Tibetan Community of Australia (NSW), Tenzin Gaden said certain individuals, overcome with emotion, behaved in an improper manner at the Chinese consulate in Sydney.

"Although their emotional behaviour was unacceptable, in their defence I can advise that they were devastated by the news coming out of Tibet, and they allowed themselves to act before they had chance to rationalise what they were doing," he said in statement sent to police and news outlets.

"The Tibetan culture is renowned for being peaceful and tolerant. However, even those with the most peaceful nature have a breaking point, and unfortunately, this is what happened (Saturday).

"I can only apologise on behalf of the Tibetan community who have lived peacefully in Australia for many years and hope that you can excuse their behaviour on this one occasion."

NSW Police Minister David Campbell condemned the protest, saying there was no excuse for the violence.

"As always it is appropriate for people to have a peaceful protest in Sydney but where they seek to break the law or perhaps invade other people's property then police need to respond," he said.

Pro-Tibet activists in Melbourne have organised a rally in that city for 10am (AEDT) Sunday outside the Chinese consulate in Toorak.

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