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18march20103Dharamshala: On March 14th, 25 Tibetan high school students in Machu County, eastern Tibet, staged a protest for Tibetan independence along with 500 local Tibetans. Around 20 peaceful protestors were detained by Chinese police and are reportedly still in custody.

The protestors gathered in front of government offices in the county center, shouting slogans of "Long live His Holiness the Dalai Lama", "We want independence", "Chinese, leave Tibet". The student protesters were joined by around 500 local Tibetans. After one hour, the protesters were surrounded by security forces and least 40 people detained, a source from Tibet said.

The demonstration erupted on the second anniversary of the 2008 protests which left 203 Tibetans dead and around 1,000 injured due to brutal retaliation by Chinese forces. The date also marks the 51st Anniversary of Tibetan Uprising Day against the Chinese occupation.

In early March, ahead of the anniversary of 1959 and 2008 uprisings, Chinese authorities buffed up security all over Tibet with troop increases and a new 'Strike Hard' campaign. Tibetans in Machu County report that internet and telecommunications have been blocked to prevent information from leaking to the outside. First-hand accounts from the region describe armed soldiers setting up check-points at every corner, designed to intimidate protestors and maintain order.

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