Tibetans demand UN action, arrested by police
( dpa )- Tibetan exiles in New York demanded action by the United Nations on Friday to stop the harsh Chinese repression of their compatriots in Lhassa following clashes with government police, who had reportedly sealed off some monasteries in the region.
New York City police arrested "six or seven" Tibetans who tried to enter the UN headquarters to present petition for UN action, the UN and Tibetan demonstrators said.
About 100 Tibetans demonstrated in front of the UN, brandishing banners and the Tibetan flag.
A large banner strung high in a memorial across the street from UN headquarters said, "China get out of Tibet," while others called for ending the killing of Tibetans. The demonstrators loudly called for a free Tibet and for UN action.
"The people are very upset and very sad at the same time," said a demonstrator who gave his name as Wangyan. "It's totally wrong that the UN is not doing anything. It should listen to the people."
"Police detained some of us, six or seven, including one of the leaders of the protest," he said. "There will be more like this if problems in Tibet are not resolved."
Police officers erected barricades and stood in front of the demonstrators to prevent them from crossing First Avenue to try to enter the UN premises. Except for the arrest at the beginning of the demonstration, there were no incidents. It was not known where police had taken the arrested Tibetans.
In Geneva, the UN high commissioner for human rights, Louise Arbour issued a statement to express her concern about "the escalating tensions" between the two sides in Tibet, which Beijing calls the Tibet Autonomous Region.
"The high commissioner urges the government of China to allow the demonstrators to exercise their right to freedom of expression and assembly, to refrain from any excessive use of force while maintaining order, and to ensure those arrested are not ill-treated and are accorded due process in line with international standards," she said.
Arbour said it was reported that 60 monks were arrested on Monday in Tibet's capital, Lhassa, when they gathered for a peaceful demonstration.
On Tuesday, Chinese police fired tear gas at some 600 monks who protested in front of police headquarters in Lhassa to demand the release of monks arrested on Monday.
Arbour said there had been "further reports of violence, including deaths and destruction of property."
A spokeswoman for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon raised concerns over the development in Tibet, urging for measures to prevent violence following the clashes.
"We are following the situation and we urge that care be taken by all concerned to avoid confrontation and violence," said spokeswoman Marie Okabe, when asked for the UN position on the situation.
News reports quoted the exiled Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists, as saying he was deeply concerned over the situation in Lhassa, where peaceful protests showed "deep-rooted resentment" of the people under Chinese governance.
The Dalai Lama appealed to Chinese leaders to stop using force and address the resentment of the Tibetan people through dialogue. He also urged Tibetans not to resort to violence.