Deaths reported in Tibet, China blames Dalai Lama

BEIJING (Reuters) – Independence protesters burned shops and cars in the Tibetan capital Lhasa on Friday and Chinese police were reported to have shot dead at least two people, in the fiercest unrest in the region for two decades.

China accused supporters of Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, of “masterminding” the uprising, which shatters its carefully-cultivated image of national prosperity and harmony in the buildup to the Beijing Olympic Games.

The Dalai Lama appealed to China to stop using force and begin dialogue with Tibetans. Similar protests in the past have been crushed by security forces with gunfire and mass arrests.

Peaceful marches by Buddhist monks in recent days have given way to angry crowds confronting riot police.

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