DEHRA, INDIA - INDIAN police arrested around 100 Tibetans on Thursday, dragging them into waiting police vans, as they tried to march to the Chinese border to press claims for independence and protest the Beijing Olympics.
The marchers, mainly Tibetans but including a few foreigners, were arrested one by one after they sat down on a road to protest police barring their march from continuing from Dehra, more than an hour's drive from Dharamsala.
The marchers set off on Monday as part of global protests to mark the 49th anniversary of an uprising against Chinese rule, leaving Dharamsala, home to Tibet's spiritual leader the Dalai Lama and the refugees' 'government-in-exile'.
Indian police had told the marchers they were not to leave the Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh state until further notice.
'The march will continue and we are determined. Each one us. No one can stop us, we will reach our motherland,' said Lobsang Yeshi, chief coordinator for the march.
'The arrests were on the instruction of the central government. The activities are destroying the Beijing Olympics. The Beijing Olympics is a dark bloody Olympics.'
Police have said they are acting on orders of India's central government to restrain the marchers, since they were in breach of an agreement not to conduct 'anti-Chinese activities' on Indian soil.
As the Olympics approach, Tibetans are trying to reinvigorate their freedom movement and protest against what they see as China's illegal occupation of their homeland.
Earlier this week, thousands of Chinese security personnel fired tear gas to try to disperse more than 600 monks taking part in a second day of rare street protests in Tibet.
The Dalai Lama has rejected a Chinese accusation he was trying to sabotage the Olympics, saying he always supported Beijing's right to host the Games. -- REUTERS