Hundreds of Buddhist monks gathered in the centre of Oxford this morning to protest loudly against a visit by the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader.

The Dalai Lama is speaking at the Sheldonian Theatre and about 1,000 members of the Western Shugden Society turned up outside.

The protesters chanted "Dalai Lama stop lying" and other slogans as he arrived for the talk and 9.30am.

The chanting reached fever pitch as the Dalai Lama arrived in a chauffeur-driven vehicle and was escorted into the building.

The society claim the Tibetan leader has banned a traditional Buddhist prayer, while his followers are abusing the human rights of Shugden Buddhists.

The Sheldonian Theatre was cordoned off to members of the public who are not invited to the talk and there was a strong police presence including officers on horseback.

Supporters of the Western Shugden Society are thought to have come to Oxford from as far away as Brazil, New Zealand and Hong Kong.

Many of the demonstrators have been following the Dalai Lama around the UK and protested at his engagements in London and Nottingham in recent weeks.

Kelsang Pema, spokesman for the Western Shugden Society, said: "The demonstration is very loud and we hope the Dalai Lama hears our message.

"When the Dalai Lama was 50, he decided that one very simple and pure spiritual prayer should not longer be regarded as Buddhist.

"But even if he experienced a change of heart himself, he should not have inflicted this on Buddhist communities throughout the world.

"We have tried to petition him peacefully since the 1990s but he will not listen and now people are being expelled from monasteries and schools for trying to practice this prayer."

The demonstration is expected to last until shortly after midday.