Friday, March 14, 2008
POLICE CARS SET ABLAZE IN LHASA *updated*
undreds of people have joined in the Lhasa protests against Chinese rule on Friday, setting fire to police cars in the centre of the city.
The woman said monks set the police cars on fire after a demonstration near a small temple in Lhasa was stopped by police. She said the protest was still going on.That's because the central government yesterday declared the situation "stable" and assured that further protests "will not take place." Negating Party directives is not appropriate.
"The monks are still protesting. Police and army cars were burned. There are people crying," said the woman. "Hundreds of people, including monks and civilians are in the protest."
Officials who answered phones at police and Communist Party offices in Tibet on Friday said they had no information about the violence and refused to comment.
UPDATE: Chaos. The peaceful marches by Tibetan Buddhist monks that have been crushed with violence, are now giving way to a violent response by Lhasa residents.
"Now it's very chaotic outside," an ethnic Tibetan resident said by telephone. "People have been burning cars and motorbikes and buses. There is smoke everywhere and they have been throwing rocks and breaking windows. We're scared."Fires were also reported in the central Lhasa Tromsikhang Market.
Another ethnic Tibetan resident said there were "protests everywhere." "It's no longer just the monks. Now they have been joined by lots of residents," the man said...
On Friday, 300 to 400 residents and monks demonstrated in Lhasa, a source cited a witness as saying, capping a week of daily protests led by the Buddhist clergy that has echoes of anti-government protests that rocked neighbor Myanmar last year.
"Some are angry and some are scared. The security forces are checking houses to see if any monks are hiding," said the source, who is in touch with Tibetan residents.
Residents spoke of general chaos around the city, and one Tibetan man said Tibetans and minority Hui Muslim traders from other parts of China were fighting each other with rocks and knives.Chinese residents should definitely stay indoors for a while and lay low; they are the majority population of the city now, after years of state driven demographic transfer of Han people into Tibet.
A Han Chinese resident said the protests were being directed at the city's Chinese population. "The Han Chinese are really scared," the resident said. "We have been told not to go outside."
The US embassy in Beijing has received reports of gunfire in the Lhasa streets Friday, and several resident sources referred to martial law. Protests are also reported from another Amdo region monastery, Labrang, where hundreds of monks led a march through the town of Xiahe.
Deutsche Presse-Agentur has reports of police getting beaten up, and the Chinese national flag being torn down outside the Jokhang Temple.
The witness said she saw three fire trucks in flames and protestors overturn and set fire to a police car.As I wrote earlier today, getting images or information out of Lhasa today is much more difficult than getting them out of Rangoon 6 months ago. "The Observers" on France24 noticed the same thing, and have one of the only photos which have made it through the Chinese censors.
Six or seven truckloads of paramilitary police were sent to the square with some police in protective riot gear, she said.
Groups of monks, students and other lay Tibetans ran toward the police and attacked them with sticks and stones, forcing the officers to retreat from the square, she said.
Another witness said a market in central Lhasa was also ablaze on Friday and that he had heard rumours of three deaths in the rioting.
Dark smoke was seen coming from the square outside the Potala Palace, the traditional residence of the exiled Dalai Lama, witnesses said.
The Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) has compiled a list of known incidents since Monday.