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BEIJING — Chinese security forces were reportedly surrounding three monasteries outside the Tibetan capital of Lhasa on Thursday after hundreds of monks had taken to the streets earlier this week in what are believed to be the largest Tibetan protests against Chinese rule in two decades.
But a different protest was already under way in the heart of the city, outside the Jokhang, the most sacred temple in Tibet. There, about a dozen monks from the Sera monastery staged a pro-independence protest that included waving a Tibetan flag in front of a crowded square of onlookers. Police officers arrested the monks. Foreign tourists posted video on the Internet of officers shooing away people.
Mr. Barnett said the demonstrations were the largest in Lhasa since 1987 and 1988, when protests by monks from the Drepung and Sera monasteries sparked a bloody confrontation with Chinese security forces.