LHASA, CHINA, OCT. 6 -- Paramilitary troops arrested about 60 Buddhist monks today, beating them with cudgels and sticks after they marched into the Tibetan capital of Lhasa to demand the release of monks detained during a recent anti-Chinese protest.
The young monks, some of them dressed in civilian clothes, marched out of the Drepung Monastery on the outskirts of the city at mid-afternoon today and walked quickly down the hill toward the downtown government office three miles away.
The Buddhists were demanding the release of 21 colleagues who were arrested Sept. 27 during a protest here to press for the independence of Tibet from Chinese rule, the first such incident in Lhasa in recent years.
At the downtown Workers Cultural Palace, members of the People's Armed Police, a crack paramilitary unit, arrested about 30 of the monks and shoved them into trucks, beating them with cudgels and wooden sticks.
The remaining 30 monks managed to reach the gates of the government offices, where about 10 trucks carrying at least 20 paramilitary soldiers armed with AK47 assault rifles beat the protesters as they hauled them aboard the vehicles.
One young monk managed to escape, but was swiftly captured by troops who beat him. The prisoners were then driven toward two prison camps on the outskirts of Lhasa.
Official posters warning residents not to support the protesters covered the walls of the city, where a night curfew was imposed following a riot last Thursday. The rioters were led by Buddhist monks demanding independence from China and the release of colleagues detained in the Sept. 27 protest.
At least six persons were killed and 19 others were injured in the riot, the worst anti-Chinese unrest in Lhasa since a 1959 uprising. Foreign witnesses said many of the casualties were caused by police gunfire. The Chinese have flown in additional security troops amid rumors of further protests Wednesday to mark the Oct. 7, 1950, invasion of Tibet by Chinese forces.