The first group of foreign journalists allowed in Tibet since violent protests broke out against Chinese rule has arrived in the capital, Lhasa.

The journalists will be escorted by Chinese officials during the two day trip that began Wednesday.

Tibetan exile groups say the demonstrations that began on March 10 were peacefully carried out by Buddhist monks marking the anniversary of a failed 1959 uprising against Chinese rule. They say the situation worsened after Chinese police used force in ending the protests.

Beijing had banned foreign journalists from traveling to Tibet to verify reports of the protests and security crackdown.

China says more than 600 people have surrendered to authorities after the protests against Beijing's five-decade rule in Tibet.

Beijing says at least 20 people died in the protests, which spilled into parts of China with large Tibetan populations. Tibetan exile groups say at least 140 people have been killed in the unrest.

The last confirmed report of a protest by Tibetans was a demonstration launched by monks and nuns in Kardze Prefecture, in Sichuan province. Local officials say protesters killed at least one policeman. They say the police opened fire in self-defense. At least one protester was killed.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.