Updated: 03/10/2014 20:22 | By Agence France-Presse

Nepal police arrest Tibetans for 'anti-China activity'

Nepalese police arrested nine Tibetans on Monday after stepping up security on the streets of the capital for the anniversary of the 1959 rebellion against China's rule in Tibet.

Nepal police arrest Tibetans for 'anti-China activity'

Nepalese police in riot gear keep watch at Boudhanath Stupa in Kathmandu on March 10, 2014, during the 55th anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan uprising against Chinese rule - by Prakash Mathema

About 30 police swooped on a handful of protesters, who waved Tibetan flags and chanted "we want a free Tibet", near the Chinese consular offices in Kathmandu, an AFP reporter said. 

"We have arrested nine Tibetans, four on suspicion of anti-China activity and five for carrying out anti-China demonstrations," police spokesman Ganesh KC told AFP.

The protesters were bundled into a waiting police vehicle from where one of them told AFP over the phone that "my clothes are torn, my arms are bruised, I don't know where the police are taking us".

Nepal, home to around 20,000 Tibetans, is under intense pressure from its giant neighbour China over the exiles, and has repeatedly said it will not tolerate what it calls "anti-China activities".

Police fanned out across Tibetan-dominated areas in Kathmandu, with officers stationed outside refugee camps and Buddhist places of worship, on Monday for the March 10 anniversary.

There were few other signs of activity to mark the anniversary of the 1959 failed uprising by Tibetans against Chinese government rule that led spiritual leader the Dalai Lama to flee his homeland.

Tenzing Jampa, a 45-year-old monk, said: "People are now too afraid to protest, otherwise many more people would turn up."

"Nepal today is totally following China's rules," he told AFP.

An intensified security sweep last year saw at least 18 Tibetans arrested during the run-up to the March 10 anniversary.

A Buddhist monk in Kathmandu set himself on fire in February last year, in the 100th self-immolation bid since 2009 by Tibetans anguished over perceived persecution in Tibet in China. At least 90 have died.

In March 2008, Tibetan anger over Beijing rule of the Tibet Autonomous Region erupted into deadly riots in the regional capital Lhasa and adjacent areas.

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