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Nepal bans protests around Chinese Embassy

Nepal said that it will arrest and jail anyone protesting near the Chinese Embassy and its visa office in Katmandu, a bid to keep Tibetan refugees from marking a key anniversary.

world Updated: Mar 02, 2009 09:18 IST

Nepal said on Monday that it will arrest and jail anyone protesting near the Chinese Embassy and its visa office in Katmandu, a bid to keep Tibetan refugees from marking a key anniversary.

The embassy and the visa office last year were the sites of near daily demonstrations by Tibetans protesting Chinese rule in their homeland. The demonstrations often led to violent clashes with riot police.

Home Ministry spokesman Navin Ghimire said on Monday that government had declared the two sites protest-free zones as a precaution against possible rallies marking the 50th anniversary of the failed Tibetan uprising against China on March 10. He did not say when the ban would be lifted.

There are thousands of Tibetan refugees living in Nepal. Thousands more are allowed to pass through Nepal on their way to Dharmasala, India where their spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, lives in exile.

Many Tibetans insist they were an independent nation before communist troops invaded in 1950, while Beijing says the Himalayan region has been part of its territory for centuries.