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7 october 2011 004Dharamsala: - Tibetans and their supporters from the Bay Area of San Francisco, US, are set to protest in front of the city's Chinese Consulate today, following the fifth self-immolation of a Tibetan Monk this year.

In a press statement, Tashi Wangden, president of the San Francisco Regional Tibetan Youth Congress, said, "China's violent repression in Tibet, especially against our religious

institutions, has become so unbearable that these monks took truly desperate actions - an outcry for help.

"China must immediately withdraw security forces from Kirti Monastery and across Tibet, and stop the ongoing harassment and torture of our monks."

On October 3, Kelsang Wangchuk (17), set himself on fire in Ngaba, Tibet, shouting slogans for "religious rights and freedom in Tibet" while holding up a photograph of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

On September 26, Lobsang Kalsang and Lobsang Konchok, aged between 18 and 19, self-immolated after staging a similar protest, during which they waved the Tibetan national flag and called for religious freedom in Tibet.

On August 15, Tsewang Norbu (29) - a monk from Nyitso monastery in Kham, eastern Tibet - self-immolated during a protest in the town's market square calling for the return of His Holiness.

On March 16, Phuntsok Jaruktsang (21) from Kirti monastery self-immolated and later died of his injuries.

In response to Jarutsang's action, Chinese forces ordered paramilitary police to surround Kirti monastery. Hundreds of monks were forcibly removed, dozens arbitrarily arrested, and armed blockades were set-up at entrances to the building.

These measures have exacerbated tensions in the region. "Young monks are looking to end their life as the last resort to urge international aide in Tibet," said Tenzin Lama, board member of Students for a free Tibet.

"We fear these self-immolations are desperate acts to highlight the oppression that the Tibetan people feel inside Tibet. We plead for our local media institutions to assist us in spreading the news of the human rights violations occurring in an oppressed nation."

Tenzin Tsedup, president of the Tibetan Association of Northern California, added, "Strong diplomatic action is urgently needed to stop further loss of life in Tibet.

"We appeal to the international community to hold the Chinese government accountable for its actions that are causing such pain, suffering and deep desperation among Tibetans."

The demonstration will take place today from 13:00 to 15:00 outside the Chinese Consulate, 1,450 Laguna Street, San Francisco.

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