China police fires on Tibetans, 3 killed: report

Tibetan monks

The situation had calmed Tuesday in a politically sensitive Tibetan region in southwest China where witnesses and activist groups said security forces opened fire on protesters and killed as many as three people.

Several thousand Tibetans in Ganzi prefecture of Sichuan province marched to government offices Monday and police opened fire into the crowd, an overseas Tibetan activist group said in statements. Three Tibetans were killed and nine wounded in the violence in the prefecture's Luhuo county, the International Campaign for Tibet said.

Another group, the London-based 'Free Tibet', put the death toll at one and said in an email statement that up to 30 others were shot and wounded in Luhuo, also known as Draggo in Tibetan.

The claims about Monday's protest could not be independently verified.

A Tibetan monk from Shouling monastery in Luhuo said police were patrolling but the situation was peaceful Tuesday after the protest by what he estimated were 10,000 people in front of the county government offices. He said most of the demonstrators were local Tibetan residents plus a few monks and Han Chinese residents.

The monk, who would not give his name, said police fired on the protesters and that one Tibetan farmer was killed. He said 32 others were wounded.

A man who answered the phone at the duty office of the Ganzi public security bureau on Tuesday denied there was any violence in the area, saying 'nothing happened here, it's a rumor'.He would not give his name.

A man from the county police said 'nothing happened' and referred calls to the police command center. A man there said he was not clear about the case and hung up. Neither would give their names.

Tuesday was a holiday for the Lunar New Year and calls to the prefecture government rang unanswered.

The official Xinhua News Agency said late Monday that one protester was killed and five police officers were injured after dozens of people clashed with police over the presumed self-immolation of a monk.

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