Violence breaks out at protests in Tibet
Chinese news agency confirms fires set by protesters. Other sources report injuries, shots fired.
Fires and gunfire broke out in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa Friday morning, as protests launched by Buddhist monks earlier in the week escalated into violence.Skip to next paragraph
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The Times of London reports that at least nine people have been injured, and a market and several police cars have been set on fire.
One resident of the old city near the monastery told The Times: "It's very dangerous. Tibetans are fighting the Han people in the street outside I can't talk because I'm afraid."
The US Embassy said it had received firsthand reports of gunfire from American citizens in the city. Tourists have been ordered by Tibet officials not to leave their hotels.
At the Tibet Regional People's Hospital, staff said they were extremely busy with patients being admitted to the emergency room with various injuries.
The Han are China's majority ethnic group, making up over 90 percent of the population. They are a small minority in Tibet however, where Tibetans are the primary ethnic group.
"Apparently local people – lay people – got involved, and a police car was set on fire. This was followed by Tromsikhang Market being set on fire," she said from London.
Saunders said her organization had confirmed reports that some Tibetans were in the hospital with serious injuries, though she didn't know the nature of the injuries or how many people were being treated.
CNN also quoted a Han woman who said she had been beaten by a group of Tibetans. "I am now in hospital with a bandage on my head," she said. "The trains are closed and I am not sure if I can take a plane back, or if I can reach the airport. All is chaotic now."
The Associated Press writes that a Tibetan woman on the scene said that protesters had set fire to police cars as well, after police stopped a demonstration near a small temple.
"The monks are still protesting. Police and army cars were burned. There are people crying," said the woman. "Hundreds of people, including monks and civilians are in the protest." ...
Officials who answered phones at police and Communist Party offices in Tibet on Friday said they had no information about the violence and refused to comment.