The plight in Lhasa is becoming more critical

After days of violent street protests, a Western tourist in Lhasa, who wishes to remain anonymous, describes a tense, deserted city firmly in the hands of the Chinese military. The city is in complete shutdown. There is no atmosphere whatsoever on the streets because there is a curfew and the streets are totally deserted. Earlier on March 17, trucks were rolling down the street bringing in thousands of troops. The ultimatum set by the Chinese government for protesters to give themselves up was expired on March 17 midnight. The worst of the violence was in the centre and east of the city. Some tourists who were in the east were forcibly removed from their hotels and hostels. During the violence police were confiscating SIM cards from people’s cameras. The electricity in several hostels and hotels are out even though all the buildings nearby have electricity. That might be because they know tourists with cameras and email accounts are here and could contact the outside world. The entire city of Lhasa is on fire. The violence may have begun on Friday at 2pm but it felt like it had been brewing for 50 years. It was frustration that had spilled over. People had taken too much.

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