Indian police detain Tibetan marchers

More than a dozen of the 300 Tibetans who were camping at a site in India's northern Uttarakhand hill state after they were stopped from marching to the border with China's Tibetan Autonomous Region, have been arrested, police and organizers of the march said Saturday, dpa reported.

The group had been camping at Seraghat, about 200 kilometres from the Chinese border, since Monday after local police asked them to turn back and said they could not go ahead.

"About a dozen Tibetan marchers were arrested late on Friday," an official at the Pithoragarh police station said over telephone. He said the others would be persuaded to leave on Sunday.

Organizers of the "March to Tibet" said they were determined to continue. "Nineteen of the marchers, including march coordinator Lobsang Yeshi, have been detained and taken to a local police station," Tibetan Youth Congress leader Tsewang Rigzin said. He said the remaining marchers would continue their journey to Tibet.

"We appeal for the immediate release of all those detained and expect that the matter will be resolved quickly and the march will resume soon," B Tsering, one of the organizers of the march said. She said the march was aimed at drawing the attention of the world to China's "repressive regime" in Tibet.

The Tibetan group began their journey on March 10 from Dharamsala, the seat of their spiritual leader, Dalai Lama, to coincide with the Tibetan Uprising Day.

The Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government-in-exile have said they did not favour the march as it may embarass India, their host country.

More than 100,000 Tibetan refugees live in India along with the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government-in-exile.

The Indian government has said that it would not stop the peaceful demonstrations by Tibetans but it cannot allow the refugees in India to cross borders without the required documents.

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