DHARAMSHALA, March 18: The Tibetan national flag has once been raised in Tibet as more instances of arrests and mass protests are being reported from Tibetan areas.
In reports coming out of Chentsa county in Malho eastern Tibet, the Lhamo Dechen monastery, the largest monastery in the region is currently reeling under a severe military lockdown.
At least 50 monks had gathered in front of the monastery on March 10 to commemorate the 53rd anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising Day. The monks had burned incense and raised slogans calling for the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama from exile and freedom in Tibet.
Sources in exile said that a planned march by the monks to Chentsa county town, some 25 kms away, was averted after local Tibetans appealed, fearing for the safety of the monks. Later, more than five military truckloads of Chinese armed personnel reportedly arrived at the monastery.
The monastery was on the security radar after the monks on March 8, during a religious ceremony, had created butter sculptures of the Dalai Lama and the ‘banned in Tibet’ Tibetan national flag as a traditional form of offering.
The intricately carved butter sculptures, clearly depicting an image of the Dalai Lama were kept on public display at the monastery.
In other reports, around a thousand Tibetans carried out a mass protest in Gepasumdo (Ch: Tongde) county on March 16 demanding the release of about 50 monks who were detained a day earlier for raising the Tibetan national flag and demanding freedom in Tibet.
“Over a thousand Tibetans converged at the county building and demanded that all the monks detained should be released," US based Radio service RFA reported citing sources in the region.
"They persisted in the peaceful protests and the county government building was surrounded by police and paramilitary forces," the report added.
A day earlier, about 200 monks from the Ba Shangtre monastery had raised the Tibetan flag at the Gepasumdo county in Tsolho, after marching on the streets carrying banners calling for freedom in Tibet and the return of the Dalai Lama.
Chinese security personnel responded with a heavy security crackdown, surrounding the monastery and searching the residence of the monks. Sources have said that around 40 Chinese vehicles arrived at the monastery and detained around 60 monks, ten of whom were later released.