With tension rising in Tibet following a series of anti-China protests, the BBC spoke to an eyewitness who saw police on Wednesday beating monks at one of three monasteries which have been sealed. He wishes to be identified only as John.
We knew something was happening because there were more road checks as we got into Lhasa.
Cars were being stopped and police were writing the licence plates down. We tried to stop at a shrine outside Lhasa but were told to keep moving.
Then we heard around Wednesday lunchtime that Drepung monastery was closed. We didn’t know why.
That afternoon we went to Sera monastery to see the debating. It’s famous – the monks debate points of philosophy and people come to see it.
Just when it was about to start, around three o’clock, we started to hear rounds of applause coming out of a courtyard in the heart of the temple.
They were grabbing monks, kicking and beating them
We thought the debate was starting but then suddenly the clapping reached a crescendo – kind of a hooting.
Then the gate of the debating compound opened and this stream of maroon humanity poured out, several hundred monks. It was impossible to count but I think there were at least 300.
We thought it was part of the tradition but when you looked at the expression on their faces, it was a very serious business. They were pumping their hands in the air as they ran out of the temple.
The minute that happened we saw the police – two or three who were inside the compound – suddenly speaking into their radios.
They started going after the monks, and plain-clothes police – I don’t know this for sure but that’s what I think they were – started to emerged from nowhere.
There were four or five in uniform but another 10 or 15 in regular clothing. They were grabbing monks, kicking and beating them.
If we had gone to Sera monastery an hour earlier or an hour later, no-one would have known what these monks had done
One monk was kicked in the stomach right in front of us and then beaten on the ground.
The monks were not attacking the soldiers, there was no melee. They were heading out in a stream, it was a very clear path, and the police were attacking them at the sides. It was gratuitous violence.
Read the rest here: