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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

30 Buddhists Detained for Protesting

MTSome 100 Buddhists gathered at the Foreign MInistry on Thursday to protest Russia's decision to deny the Dalai Lama a visa.
Police detained some 30 Russian Buddhists who gathered outside the Foreign Ministry on Thursday to protest Russia's decision to deny the Dalai Lama permission to enter the country.

Chanting "Visa to Dalai Lama!" and holding portraits of the exiled Tibetan leader, about 100 protesters from the traditionally Buddhist regions of Kalmykia and Tuva demonstrated peacefully outside the ministry building on the Garden Ring.

Police quickly broke up the rally, saying the protesters were disturbing public order by staging an unsanctioned demonstration. By noon, police had pushed those protesters who had not left voluntarily into police vans to take them to a nearby station.

Last week, the Foreign Ministry turned down a request for the Dalai Lama to visit Russia, saying his delegation had a "political orientation" and included members of the Tibetan government in exile. The ministry said it was taking into account China's "sharply negative" view of the Dalai Lama's political activities.

But Russian Buddhist leaders denied the Dalai Lama's proposed visit had any political aims and said it was designed to tend to the spiritual needs of the community.

Protesters said their rally was peaceful and there was no need for the police to get involved.

"I'm a Russian citizen, and I'm allowed to walk and stand where I want in my own country," said Anastasia Manzhanova, who came to Moscow from Elista, capital of the republic of Kalmykia in southern Russia, where she is a member of a Buddhist center.

Thursday's rally was the second public protest over the visa denial. Ten Buddhists were detained in a similar protest last Saturday.