NEW DELHI (AFP) – Several dozen Tibetans in
Tibetan activists carry an “Independence Torch” during a rally in New Delhi on March 30, 2008. Several dozen Tibetans in India on Sunday unveiled an “independence torch” in New Delhi that will be carried around the world in an anti-China protest ahead of the Summer Olympics in Beijing.(AFP/Manpreet Romana)
The torch was brought from theof Dharamshala — home to the , the Tibetan spiritual leader, and the government-in-exile.
The next stop for the protest flame is, where the real Olympic torch is expected on April 9.
“This relay is to protest Chinese rule in Tibet. We also don’t want the Olympic torch to go to Tibet because it is not a part of,” said Urgyen Chophel, president of the .
China has come under increasing international pressure over its crackdown against protesters in the Tibetan capitaland Chinese provinces bordering the Himalayan region.
Tibetan activist groups have put the death toll from weeks of unrest at 135-140 Tibetans. China says rioters killed 18 civilians and two police officers.
Protesters disrupted theceremony in last Monday.
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China awaits Olympic torch amid Tibet tensions
By Dan Martin Sun
BEIJING, March 30, 2008 (AFP) – China on Sunday stepped up security on the eve of the arrival of the Olympic torch from, where protesters angry over ‘s crackdown in Tibet tried to disrupt the handover of the flame.
Authorities in Beijing clamped down on Tiananmen Square, where the torch will be officially welcomed to the country on Monday before a worldwide relay expected to be dogged by protests over the deadly unrest in Tibet.
Tensions continued to simmer in the Himalayan region, with activist groups reporting a fresh protest in Lhasa at the weekend, while in neighbouring Nepal, police baton-charged Tibetan protesters Sunday, detaining more than 100 people.
In, Greek officials handed the Olympic flame to the head of the Beijing organising committee, Liu Qi, after police arrested a handful of protesters shouting “Free Tibet”.