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Most violent ethnic protest in years erupt in Lhasa, Tibet's main city.


2008, March 14


The ethnic Tibetan resistance movement has used the opportunity of the upcoming Olympic Games in Beijing to protest against Beijing's rule of Tibet. Clashes between protesters and security forces in Lhasa have left at least 10 people dead. Some sources report up to 100 casualties. The riots, which are said to be the largest protests against Beijing's rule of Tibet in 20 years, are focused on Chinese shops in Lhasa's center, which were looted and set on fire. The conflict started when monks protested against the so-called "patriotic education", in which they have to distance themselves from the Dalai Lama, their spiritual leader. Chinese security forces responded with warning shots and tear gas to disperse the protesters. Eyewitnesses reported people being beaten up. A curfew was declared.
Chinese media are censoring news from Tibet. Xinhua, the official Chinese news agency is reporting very little on the violent clashes between protesters and security forces in Tibet. BBC television in large Beijing hotels is blocked whenever Tibet is mentioned. The cell phone network in Lhasa has been switched off.


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