«They were treating us like animals on the streets» … police guard a bridge leading to the Labrang monastery in Xiahe.

Witnesses said crowds clashed with hundreds of police and troops trucked in from the nearest city, Lanzhou. Monks as young as seven and as old as 70 from the Labrang monastery took part in the protests with local Tibetans and people from the countryside, chanting «free Tibet» and waving Tibetan flags and scarves.

Labrang, one of the six monasteries of the Yellow Hat sect closely identified with the Dalai Lama, is home to about 2000 monks and a similar number of local Tibetans.

Open revolt defies China’s iron fist