Nepalese authorities prevented exiled Tibetans from celebrating the Dalai Lama's 76th birthday today over concerns that gatherings would turn anti-Chinese. Hundreds of riot police blocked Tibetans from entering a school on the northern edge of Katmandu where the celebrations were planned. Only students wearing school uniforms were allowed inside the compound, while other Tibetans, including many monks and nuns, were stopped. Police detained three Tibetans who tried to hold a prayer meeting on the street. A brief scuffle broke out, but no one was hurt.
The chief government administrator of Katmandu district issued a warning that all public celebrations were banned and police would not tolerate anti-Chinese protests. Tibetan gatherings in Nepal generally turn into protests against China, with participants shouting slogans demanding an end to Chinese rule in their homeland. The Dalai Lama is currently in Washington for an 11-day Buddhist ritual, known as a kalachakra; his visit begins with birthday festivities. (Click to read about the Dalai Lama's recent interview with AP, in which he discusses his successor.)