In correlation with the protests in San Francisco, a small group of monks at a major Tibetan Buddhist monastery in northwest China defied authorities and staged a protest in front of foreign reporters, a witness and state media said.

About 15 monks from the Labrang monastery in Gansu province approached the journalists carrying banners and voicing support for exiled Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama, said the witness, who was on a government-controlled media tour.

“They said in Chinese, ‘We want more freedom, more human rights and we want to see the Dalai Lama’,” said Caroline Puel, a journalist with France’s Le Point magazine.

The protest lasted about 10 minutes and ended when government officials conducting the tour urged the foreign journalists to leave.

China’s official Xinhua news agency also confirmed that a group of monks had “interrupted” the media tour, but gave few other details.

The incident marks the second time that protesting monks upstaged a media tour organised by the government through areas hit by recent Tibetan rioting.

On March 27, monks at the Jokhang temple in Lhasa interrupted a similar tightly-controlled media tour aimed at showing calm had returned to the Tibetan capital.

The Jokhang monks called for the return of the Dalai Lama and denounced official Chinese versions of the Tibetan unrest as “lies”.

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