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Tourists bring first freedom note from Tibet
Phayul[Friday, March 21, 2008 13:03]
Arbitrary detention of Tibetans in Nepal

By Tenzin Choephel
Phayul Correspondent

A monk gestures victory and peace as he is picked up by Nepal police from at Pulchowk, Kathmandu.
A monk gestures victory and peace as he is picked up by Nepal police from at Pulchowk, Kathmandu.
Kathmandu, March 20 - Nepal Police arbitrarily arrested 99 Tibetans from Pulchowk area today suspecting them for staging a demonstration at the UN House again, some of the Tibetans were having tea at road side tea shops when Police came and forcibly took them away, two nuns were walking back to Jwalakhel quietly when they were taken away. Similarly 19 people voluntarily surrendered to the Police; 87 people were detained at Jwalakhel Police Station and 12 were detained at the Hanumandhoka Police Station. All of them were freed around 7 PM.

Nepal Police taking away a Tibetan monk and nun who were simply passing by Pulchowk, Kathmandu.
Nepal Police taking away a Tibetan monk and nun who were simply passing by Pulchowk, Kathmandu.
A Tibetan named Tenzin Dorji said, "we did not even start our protest, Police came and took us away forcibly, this is different level of oppression".

Tourists who were in Lhasa on 10th of March have started arriving in Kathmandu, Nepal, as China drives out the few remaining foreigners and reporters from Tibet. With the media being denied entry into Tibet, these tourists tell stories of what they saw in Lhasa, the epicentre of the protest in Tibet.

First tourists to arrive in Kathmandu from Lhasa, from L-R, Steven Dubois and Ulkike Lakiere from Belgium and Miguel Sacramento and Clara Picarra and Portugal.
First tourists to arrive in Kathmandu from Lhasa, from L-R, Steven Dubois and Ulkike Lakiere from Belgium and Miguel Sacramento and Clara Picarra and Portugal.
Clara Picarra and Miguel Sacramento from Portugal and Steven Dubois and Ulkike Lakiere from Belgium were in Lhasa witnessing the protests and unrest in Lhasa. "We were at Drepung Monastery that day, the monks just finished a debate session, we were walking with about 50 monks who wanted to go to Lhasa”, said Clara as she takes out a scrap of paper from her bag.

A monk wrote something in my pad and then scratched it before running away suddenly as we saw a group of police coming. They stopped the monks and separated us from them. The police told us to return to Lhasa. They secured the perimeter and within minutes they shut down the whole monastery and we don’t know what happened to the monks after that as Police and security agents in plain clothes followed us everywhere and prohibited us from taking pictures or talking to the monks".

A note handed over to tourist by a Tibetan monk from Drepung Monastery on 10 March.
A note handed over to tourist by a Tibetan monk from Drepung Monastery on 10 March.
An incomplete sentence in Tibetan on the scrap of paper reads (though not clear) (see image), "Today, the monks are staging Tibet’s independence, you…"

She assumes the monk saw the Police arriving and could not finish writing. She said the monk was saying in a broken English, "Lhasa, monks, take pictures".

Clara and Miguel also were surprisingly allowed to visit Everest Base Camp, they did not see any big preparation going on but they saw a CCTV vehicle there that obviously could be an indication that they are filming the preparation for taking the Olympic torch to top of Mount Everest. Dubois who posted a video on the internet from Lhasa said, "at the border Chinese Police frisked through all of us and searched all our bags, checked my camera, cds and everything, they went through each photo, one by one".

Meanwhile, over 400 older Tibetan folks gathered today at the Bouda and Jorpati Tibetan Community Center to offer prayer for Tibetans who have died inside Tibet since March 10.
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