Lhasa Erupts as Tibetans Battle Police

Dowtown market in flames in biggest clash in 20 years
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 14, 2008 4:53 AM CDT
Indian police detain marching Tibetan protestors at Dehra India, Thursday, March 13, 2008. Reports from Lhasa indicate an uprising against Chinese rule.   (AP Photo/Ashwini Bhatia)
camera-icon View 6 more images

(Newser) – Nearly a thousand angry monks and lay Tibetans clashed with police in the capital of Lhasa today in the most dramatic anti-Chinese protests in almost 20 years, writes the Times of London and CNN. Rioters threw rocks at police who tried to block the lamas, and burned Chinese-owned shops, leaving one of the city's main markets in flames. The violence is the latest episode in an upsurge of protests against Chinese rule of Tibet ahead of this summer's Beijing Olympics.

“It’s very dangerous," said one man in Lhasa. "Tibetans are fighting the Han people in the street outside. I can’t talk because I’m afraid.” Some reports have suggested that Chinese officials have imposed a state of emergency. The protesters are demanding freedom to practice their religion and independence for Tibet.