March 14, 2008 / 6:42 PM / in 11 years

Six arrested in Tibet protest outside U.N.

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Police arrested six pro-Tibet protesters outside U.N. headquarters on Friday after an impromptu demonstration in support of the independence protests in Tibet grew unruly.

About 40 or 50 protesters engaged in a standoff with New York police who threatened to arrest them all if they did not move from a traffic island in front of the U.N. building in Manhattan.

Tensions eased when the demonstrators agreed to move to an open space nearby but six were arrested on suspicion of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, police said.

“They were trying to gain access into the United Nations,” Sgt. Carlos Nieves said at the scene.

They chanted “Free Tibet” and “We want justice” while holding up banners saying, “China, stop killing Tibetans now.”

Karma Yeshi, 29, who works with the pro-independence Tibetan Youth Congress, said Tibetans in New York first gathered outside the Chinese consulate after hearing of the violence in Tibet.

Peaceful street marches by Tibetan Buddhist monks over past days gave way to angry crowds of hundreds of pro-independence demonstrators on Friday who tested China’s rule just as Beijing readies for the Olympic Games.

“This morning the news came and everybody called each other and gathered first at the Chinese consulate. We got messages from Tibet. They told us in Tibet they killed 70 people with machine guns in everything,” Yeshi said.

There was no independent way to confirm his claim about the events, said to take place in Lhasa.

Reporting by Claudia Parsons; Editing by Daniel Trotta

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