More news from Machu protests

Monday, 17 March 2008

County, protests started in Machu County yesterday. The witness was speaking by phone to Free Tibet Campaign's contact in Dharamsala. The demonstration started at 4pm yesterday and according to the eyewitness was led by students from the county, as well as monks. The protesters destroyed the civil government headquarters and burned Chinese national flags, replacing them with Tibetan national flags.

The protest escalated today when 5000 protesters gathered in Machu County, according to the eyewitness. The protesters chanted "Long Live the Dalai Lama", "Release the Panchen Lama" and "Free Tibet".

The eyewitness told our contact in Dharamsala that he had been told that clashes between protesters and security forces had taken place but he had not witnessed them and that he had heard that 12 people had been killed in the clashes but that he had not witnessed the killings.

The eyewitness was speaking by phone, and while he was on phone he told our contact that he could hear gunfire. He was unable to confirm whether the gunfire was from Chinese security officials.

The eyewitness also told our contact that he had received a call from a Chinese friend in Lanzhou. The friend was a well-placed source who stated that he knew that 20,000 paramilitaries were being sent from Lanzhou to the following locations in Gansu Province:

Matt Whitticase

Press Officer, Free Tibet Campaign

Notes:

For further information please contact Matt Whitticase at matt@freetibet.org
Or call on +44 (0) 207 324 4605/+44 (0)7515 788456