News and Views on Tibet

First major Free Tibet protest in Kathmandu after more than a decade

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By Tseten

Kathmandu, March 10 – To the big surprise of every one in Boudha, Kathmandu, just after the customary brief and peaceful official 10th march ceremony in Boudha, group of 11 young Tibetans waving Tibetan national flag and wearing Free Tibet T-shirts, head band and cap took a peaceful rally around Boudha stupa and then started shouting slogans of “free Tibet.”

Tibetans as well as the local Nepalese present at boudha looked totally surprised because such a scene is very unusual in Nepal. Govt. of Nepal doesn’t allow any kind of Free Tibet protest in Nepal, thus, usually tight security is arranged in boudha on 10th march but strangely today there was hardly any policemen in Boudha.

Initially hesitant, gradually other youngsters joined the young Tibetan protesters and eventually many other Tibetans- young and old, men and women, monks- joined in and it became a big crowd of few hundred Tibetans circumambulating around Boudha Stupa and shouting Free Tibet slogans. But one can also see many cautious Tibetans watching the protest with uncomfortable expression on their face, obviously imagining the arrival of the security and the consequences. The protesters took a couple of round of the Boudha stupa chanting slogans and unanimously dispersed in great satisfaction.

This is the first time in about ten years that such a free Tibet protest took place in Nepal.

Norbu Gyaltsen, 25 year old, who is one of the 11 boys who took the initiative told this scribe “We know it is difficult in Nepal but we planned and did it out of “semshook”. We thought we might get beaten by police and jailed for a month. But we were determined and ready for it. We are glad that we succeeded in doing it and people supported us.”

While many people are quite happy for today’s unprecedented protest some people can be heard worrying about the negative consequences it can have on the future Tibetan gatherings in Nepal.

Just after the protesting crowd had dispersed and Boudha is calm again, angry police inspector came along with armed constables. He scolded the policemen who were supposed to be on duty and also scolded at the Tibetan bystanders. “Shouting Free Tibet slogans? Don’t you know how to live as refugees?” His anger not subsided, he ordered the constables to take away Boudha-Jorpati Tibetan Welfare Officer, Sane Gonzin Bhu Dhundup for questioning to the Boudha Police station.

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