Melbourne, Mar.14 : Fires and violent protests have broken out in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa as demonstrations this week against Chinese rule escalated.
"Shops were set on fire in violence in downtown Lhasa on Friday afternoon,'' China's state-run Xinhua news agency reported. "Witnesses said a number of shops were burnt and some others nearby shut down business."
The fires broke out in a market and street near the Jokhang temple in the old part of Lhasa. The temple is regarded as one of the most sacred sites for Tibetan Buddhists.
International Campaign for Tibet spokeswoman Kate Saunders said the rights group had received reports that the Tromsikhang market in Barkor Street, which has a line of stalls that run around the temple, was on fire.
A police car was also set on fire near Ramoche temple in Lhasa, The Australian reported.
Foreigners in Lhasa reported Buddhist monks and others had protested throughout the city, and that they had been told to stay away from the Jokhang temple and the surrounding area. Hundreds of monks were involved in the protests earlier in the week in Lhasa, rights groups said.
The International Campaign for Tibet said earlier today that troops had surrounded the monasteries, amid fears of a crackdown by Chinese authorities.