Protests follow Tibetan self-immolations

Jan. 10, 2012 at 10:57 AM
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BEIJING, Jan. 10 (UPI) -- There is no room for Tibetans to exercise civil liberties, a Tibetan activist said after a monk died from setting himself ablaze in a protest suicide in China.

Tibetan activist Tsering Woeser told CNN as many as 2,000 Tibetans marched on a local political station in Qinqhai province to protest the death of Tibetan monk Nayage Sonamdrugya, who set himself on fire in a protest suicide during the weekend.

"The strict control and severe suppression over religion in the region are depressing -- they leave no breathing space for the local Tibetans," Woeser said. "If the government can show some mercy, there will be much fewer tragedies like this."

Heavy security was reported in the streets Tuesday, the broadcaster said.

Free Tibet, an advocacy group based in London, said Sonamdrugya's self-immolation is the 15th such incident since March. It was the first for that particular region of China, which the advocacy group said is a sign Tibetan unrest is spreading.

Stephanie Brigden, director of Free Tibet, said the self-immolation, the third so far this year, represents a "sustained and profound rejection of the Chinese occupation."

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