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(New York) - Chinese security forces should stop violent attacks on protesters in Tibet and allow the United Nations to conduct an independent probe into alleged abuses, Human Rights Watch said today.

To quell the protests that continued in Lhasa and Sangchu County, Chinese security forces responded by beating protesters, firing live ammunition, surrounding Ganden, Drepung and Sera monasteries, and cutting phone lines into the monasteries, according to media reports and sources in the capital, Lhasa. There are unconfirmed reports that some protesters have been shot. The city is now reported to be under curfew and there is a heavy presence of security forces on the streets.

“The Chinese government should exercise restraint in responding to the protests and should work toward addressing the grievances of the protesters,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “It should invite the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to Tibet so that it can begin a thorough and independent investigation into alleged abuses.”

The Chinese government has long banned independent human rights observers from Tibet and responds harshly to Tibetans sending information out of the country regarding the human rights situation. Human Rights Watch called on the Chinese government to respect the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly, and to ensure proper treatment of all protesters and others detained in recent days.

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