HUNDREDS of people are expected to turnout - with many also expected to protest - when the Dalai Lama opens the country’s first Buddhist community centre in Hampshire.

As part of a two-day visit to the UK, the Dalai Lama will be speaking about Buddhism in the 21st century when he opens the centre in Aldershot High Street before speaking at the ESS Football Stadium on June 29.

Thousand of people will be there when he will also lead prayers at the event for victims of the recent Nepalese earthquakes.

The event will be attended by faith leaders from a variety of backgrounds in Hampshire and comes ahead of his 80th birthday on July 6.

It comes after the Dalai Lama appears in front of hundreds of thousands at the Glastonbury festival this weekend to promote his message of ''compassion, non-violence and the oneness of humanity'', his representatives said.

Damar Ghale, a spokesman for the Buddhist Community Centre UK, said: “We are deeply honoured to welcome the Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama, who is much loved by the British people, to Aldershot. His Holiness' visit will mark the opening of our new centre in the UK.

“There is a large Nepalese community in Aldershot and they share the Tibetan and Himalayan people's reverence for His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

“Increasingly, people across the UK are becoming more interested in Buddhism.

“Our centre in Aldershot has strengthened our sense of community and brought people together whatever their background and culture - just as the Dalai Lama brings people across the globe together with his message of peace and tolerance, and oneness of humanity.”

But more than 500 members of the International Shugden Community (ISC) are expected to turn up.

They claim the Dalai Lama is engaged in the alleged persecution of Shugden Buddhists in the Tibetan exile community.

A spokesman for the ISC said the Dalai Lama and Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) were not addressing or attempting to resolve “this persecution”.

Damar has denounced the protests as "inappropriate" while he and thousands others "mourn those who have died in Nepal".

The spokesman added: “Instead they use slander as a smokescreen to deflect attention from this issue. They say we are paid by the Chinese. We are not paid by the Chinese and they provide no evidence for this claim. They say we are murderers. We are not murderers. This is ridiculous and they provide no evidence for this claim.

“The Dalai Lama and the CTA are engaged in the unethical and immoral act of persecuting Shugden Buddhists. They should be made to address this and stop these human rights abuses.”

An alliance of 10 UK Buddhist Organisations issued a statement formally dissociating themselves from the protests.

They said: “We remain convinced that differences of opinion among Buddhists should be expressed in a peaceful, respectful, truthful and reasonable manner.

“We are very concerned about the protesters' aggressive, misleading and unethical behaviour and the false image being presented to the public.

“The UK Buddhist Organisations signed up to this statement express their respect and support for His Holiness' stance on promoting wider religious harmony between the religious traditions and on promoting mutual respect and admiration between the Buddhist traditions.”

The signatories, who include The Buddhist Society, said neither Amnesty International (1998) nor the Supreme Court in Delhi (2010) were able to ascertain a violation of human rights.