March 18, 2008 / 10:25 AM / 10 years ago

Thirty Tibetans arrested after fresh protest-group

BEIJING (Reuters) - Thirty Tibetan protesters were arrested after staging a demonstration near Lhasa in defiance of a region-wide security clampdown, an exiled Tibetan rights group said on Tuesday.

A dozen Buddhist monks from the Dinka Monastery in Duilong Deqing County (Toelung Dechen in Tibetan), near Lhasa, held the protest on Monday evening and were joined by local lay residents, the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said on its Web site (www.tchrd.org), citing "numerous sources and witnesses".

Reuters was unable to immediately confirm the report. Calls to the county police bureau were not answered.

The show of defiance came as Chinese authorities continued a massive security sweep to enforce control in Tibet and surrounding provinces with large ethnic Tibetan areas.

Local security officers failed to contain the protest, and within minutes large numbers of police and anti-riot troops arrived to break up the demonstration.

“The area was under a heavy deployment of paramilitary troops when information last came in,” said the rights group, which is highly critical of China’s presence in Tibet.

Last Friday, rioters tore through the regional capital Lhasa, burning shops and attacking residents. The violent protest overtook earlier peaceful demonstrations led by Buddhist monks.

The Tibet government announced a deadline of Monday midnight for people involved in last weeks violent protest to surrender themselves over to police or face harsher punishment if later caught.

So far authorities have not said how many, if any, people surrendered to police.

Reporting by Chris Buckley; Editing by Alex Richardson

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