Kathmandu, Mar.14 : Nepal will block access to Mount Everest in early May to ensure China can take the Olympic torch to the roof of the world.
The move is to prevent pro-Tibetan protests as the flame makes its way to Beijing.
It comes amid an eruption of protests this week believed to the biggest in Tibet in two decades, and also coincides with demonstrations in India by Tibetan exiles seeking to pressure China ahead of the Olympics in August. According to The Australian , expedition teams will not be allowed to move from Nepal's Everest base camp from May 1 to May 10.
The country's Tourism Minister Prithvi Subba Gurung was quoted as saying "We have received a request from China not to allow people on the mountain while the Olympic torch is on Everest."
The China Tibet Mountaineering Association said this week overcrowding and environmental pressures meant they had to ask all commercial expeditions to stay off the mountain on the Tibetan approach until after May 10. Tibetan groups had already reported that a ban would be put in place to ensure the flame reaches the top without trouble. ut mountaineering officials in Beijing denied a ban had been put in place.
This week's protests have coincided with the anniversary of a 1959 uprising against Chinese rule that Tibetan groups say was brutally crushed and led to the deaths of tens of thousands.