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Violence breaks out at protests in Tibet

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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.

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.

CNN reports that the violence broke out when police tried to stop a protest at the Ramoche Temple, according to Kate Saunders of the International Campaign for Tibet, a human rights 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.
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