More than 550 Tibetans arrested in Nepal during anti-China demo

Nepalese police Sunday arrested more than 550 Tibetan demonstrators, most of them women, during anti-China protests in the capital Kathmandu, dpa reported.

The demonstrators, including Tibetan nuns, were arrested as they tried to assemble and march towards the Chinese visa office, which has been the target of protests for the past four days.

Demonstrators wore black armbands in a mark of protest against Chinese rule in Tibet and chanted "We want a free Tibet."

The demonstrators were dragged to waiting police vans and trucks and driven off to detention centres.

The protestors were expected to be freed later Sunday.

It was the largest number of protesters detained on a single day since Tibetan exiles began almost daily protests in March against Chinese policies in Tibet. Sunday was the first time women only demonstrated.

Nepal has come under increasing criticism from international human rights groups for using force to break up demonstrations.

US-based Human Rights Watch has accused the Nepalese police of arresting thousands of Tibetans during demonstrations and in pre- emptive arrests. It has also accused the Nepalese authorities of threatening Tibetan refugees involved in demonstrations with deportation back to Tibet.

Nepal has nearly 20,000 Tibetan refugees and every year an estimated 3,000 more try to cross into Nepal to flee Chinese rule in Tibet.

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