One of the schoolchildren inside the UN compound hold placard that reads: “Release all innocent Tibetans imprisoned”
Kathmandu, March 28: A group of more than 20 Tibetan schoolchildren reportedly staged a protest in the main United Nations compound in Nepal's capital, Kathmandu to draw attention to the crisis in Tibet.
A UN spokesman reportedly said the children, aged between 15 and 18, and dressed in school uniform scaled the wall carrying a small home-made sign that read "Free Tibet" and asking for the United Nations to help their cause.
The children unfurled the flag featuring independence slogans for Tibet and said they wanted to draw attention to the crisis in Tibet, the spokesman said.
The groups scaled the walls of the United Nations compound, as police arrested 60 others rallying outside, dragging some into waiting vehicles as usual.
The teenage demonstrators remained inside the U.N. compound after climbing the wall Friday morning.
Protestors have been beaten with considerable force by Nepali police
Nepalese police surrounded the compound and were posted at all the gates. One police official reportedly went inside and asked for the protesters to be handed over, but U.N. officials refused.
John Brittain, a spokesman for the United Nations, reportedly described the teenagers as polite intruders who sat on the grass inside the compound, were asked to write their grievances for United Nations officials.
The children were treated to lunch instead by the UN officials. They were served with momos
(Tibetan steamed dumplings).
Mr. Brittain said agency officials would make sure they all were escorted home safely.
While police were trying to determine how the protesters had slipped inside the compound, another group of 100 marched toward the building shouting "Free Tibet, we want freedom."
Tibetans have been protesting outside the U.N. compound, the Chinese Embassy's visa office and near the prime minister's office since since March 10. But the protests have been broken up by police using excessive force, sometimes with bamboo batons and tear gas.
Rights groups have routinely criticized Nepal for its handling of the peaceful Tibetan demonstrators.
Nepali police stop two monks on motorbike in Kathmandu, Thursday, March 27, 2008 (Photo by Tenzin Choephel / Phayul.com)
Yesterday, a handful of Tibetans attempted to protest in front of the Chinese Consulate at Hattisar but were immediately stopped and arrested by Nepali Police already stationed there.
17 Tibetans, including 5 women, were arrested and were detained at Metropolitan Armed Police Force in Maharajgunj, before releasing them at around 8:00PM.
Many other Tibetans could not join the protest due to strict restrictions placed on Tibetan people’s movement. Police were more vigilant to monks.
“I was not allowed to go towards city from Bouda. Police were stopping anyone wearing maroon robes,” one monk told Phayul.
Similarly, a group of elderly Tibetans were stopped in Swayambu yesterday from going in a reserved bus to attend a prayer session at the Bouda Jorpati Tibetan Community Center.
One elderly Tibetan Lobsang Chokdup said: “I went to Bouda myself. While returning from Bouda this evening, 25 of us elderly came in a reserved bus. Our bus was stopped at Bouda Police Station for about 15 minutes. When we asked for reason, the Police said that they were providing security to us. A Police vehicle escorted our bus and handed us over to Chabahil Police Station. We were again stopped for about 10 minutes. Then we were escorted to Chakrapath Police Station and then to the Balaju Police Station and stopped us again for about 10 minutes. We could not take it any longer, so we all got off the bus and went home ourselves”.Phayul correspondent Tenzin Choephel contributed to this article, with extra inputs from other media reports.