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20-october-2011-ngaba-2Dharamshala, India: The Tibet Post has received reports that large demonstrations were held in Ngaba county, eastern Tibet, on Wednesday 19 October. Ngaba has witnessed eight self-immolation incidents since March.

Large numbers of Tibetans, dressed in traditional clothing, gathered in the streets of Ngaba reciting Mani mantra (Buddhist prayer) in a demonstration of solidarity. Tibetans in surrounding villages also took part by wearing traditional Tibetan clothing, reciting prayers and fasting.

It is reported that on two occasions, protests were attempted however neither were successful. Police and soldiers wielding firearms managed to disperse the crowd.

In India, demonstrations were held in Dharamsala, home to HH the Dalai Lama, and the capital, Delhi.

Thousands of local Tibetans and supporters gathered in Dharamsala's main temple for a day long prayer service. HH the Dalai Lama attended as did Kalon Tripa Dr. Lobsang Sangay.

In Delhi, over 3000 Tibetans marched from Raj Ghat (Mahatma Gandhi's memorial site) to the Jantar Mantar under the banner of the Tibet Solidarity Movement yesterday.

The demonstrations come after the ninth self-immolation in Tibet this year. 20 year-old Buddhist nun, Tenzin Wangmo, set herself on fire on October 17 while shouting for the freedom of Tibet. She died immediately. The Chinese government has so far failed to acknowledged that the incident took place.

In the past few days, meetings held across Ngaba county have ruled that monks and nuns are prohibited from saying prayers for those who have died as a result of anti-government protests. Local leaders and family members of any deceased have been told they will be held responsible for any protests. The compulsory meetings were attended by individuals from each village and each household.

In seemingly related incidences, on October 17, Kirti monk Puntsok, age 28, of the Siriktsang house in Naktsangma village, Cha township, was arrested during the night. He was taken from his room at the monastery by policemen who beat him as they took him away. His room was thoroughly searched. His present whereabouts are unknown.

On October 15, Kirti monk Jigme Choepel of Soruma village, Choeje township, was also arrested. His present whereabouts is unknown.

Several laypeople were reportedly arrested on October 15th following the self-immolation protest by Norbu Dramdul, but their names and other details are not known.

The motives behind the recent wave of arrests remain unclear.

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E-mail: editor@thetibetpost.com