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Canada warns citizens to avoid Tibet

world Updated: Mar 15, 2008 13:31 IST

AFP
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Canada has called on its citizens to avoid all non-essential travel to Tibet, where riots have broken out in the capital Lhasa following an anti-Chinese protest.

In a statement on its website, the foreign ministry yesterday cited reports of rioting and said some embassies in Beijing had "received first-hand reports from foreign nationals in the city who report gunfire and other indications of violence."

"Canadian citizens in Lhasa should seek safe havens in hotels and other buildings and remain indoors to the extent possible. All care should be taken to avoid unnecessary movement within the city until the situation is under control," it said.

"Canadians who were planning on travel to Tibet are advised to defer non-essential travel at this time."

Foreign Minister Maxime Bernier on Thursday expressed "serious concerns" about the situation in Tibet, urging China to "respect the right of Tibetans to peaceful protests and to take steps to improve the human rights situation in Tibet."

Lhasa erupted in deadly violence yesterday as security forces used gunfire to quell the biggest protests against Chinese rule in two decades, officials and rights groups said.