updated 4/17/2008 2:17:11 PM ET 2008-04-17T18:17:11

Nepalese police detained more than 500 Tibetan exiles who protested near the Chinese Embassy in Katmandu on Thursday, police said.

The 505 Tibetans included Buddhist monks and several women, police official Sarbendra Khanal said.

It was the largest number of Tibetans detained in Nepal's capital since Tibetan exiles began almost daily protests last month against a Chinese crackdown following riots in Tibet.

About 50 protesters came out Thursday afternoon in Katmandu chanting anti-China slogans, and a slightly larger group came an hour later. The largest group appeared late in the afternoon.

Police broke up the demonstrations and detained participants.

No charges yet
The detained Tibetans had not been charged and police were waiting for top government officials' orders on handling them, Khanal said.

Most protesters detained in similar protests in recent weeks have been freed the same day. Khanal said he was not sure when the latest detainees would be freed.

Nepalese officials have said they will not allow any protests against any friendly nations, including China.

Tibetans have held frequent protests in front of Katmandu's U.N. office and the Chinese Embassy.

Security has been tightened around the embassy. Hundreds of police have been posted in streets leading to the mission.

Nepal has been criticized by international groups including the United Nations for allegedly using excessive force against protesters. Police officers have beaten them with batons and dragged them along the streets.

Police appeared to have scaled back the use of force in rounding up protesters in the past week, however.

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