Saturday, March 7, 2009
Monks of Ngaba Gomang monastery protest, 1 held
Tensions reached a near bloody crackdown on monks of Ngaba Gomang monastery in Ngaba (Sichuan) as security forces blocked the monks who were marching towards the town administration, according to a Tibetan living in Canada with contacts there.
Khedup Gyatso, a Tibetan living in Canada, was informed on phone by a witness that around a hundred monks of Ngaba Gomang monastery headed for the town situated about 13 kilometres from the monastery.
A bloody crackdown was avoided after mediation by Tibetan officials and persuasion by residents on the morning of March 2, according to the witness. The witness, who had monk relatives in the monastery, said she rushed on horseback towards the monastery. According to her, the monks were mostly in their twenties. The monks, according to her, were chanting slogans like “Long live His Holiness the Dalai Lama”, “Free Tibet” and “World Peace”. Residents of near by villages swarmed on horseback and motorcycles towards the monastery fearing the security forces might resort to firing, she told Khedup.
“Residents physically wrestled with the monks trying to stop them from a possible shooting by Chinese security forces who were all set to press the trigger. Monks were arguing with their family members who stopped them.
Some monks said they are protesting in support of the Kirti monk who immolated himself on March 27.”According to the witness, some Tibetan officials of the Chinese government took the role of a mediator guaranteeing the monks’ return to their monastery, and after three hours the monks returned. However, a monk named Thangzin, in his twenties, was arrested from his quarter by the police later that night, she said. “Several others went into hiding since then.”It is not known if the monks who went into hiding are safe or where Thangzin is held.