Events co-organised by Free Tibet draw hundreds of supporters in London
Tibetans and Tibet supporters around the world turned out on 10 March to commemorate the anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan Uprising. Calls were made for an end to the occupation of Tibet and for human rights for Tibetans in cities as far apart as London, New York, Mexico City, Tokyo and Dharamsala.
In London, some 300 people turned out to march and demonstrate. The events, jointly organised by Free Tibet, Students for a Free Tibet, Tibet Society and Tibetan Community UK, began with a rally outside the Prime Minister’s residence at Downing Street including speeches and a stirring rendition of the Tibetan national anthem.
Representatives from the four organising groups delivered a letter for Prime Minister Theresa May, requesting that she commit to meeting the Dalai Lama and the leader of the Tibetan people, the Sikyong. The letter also requested that she urgently raise the ongoing forced removals and demolitions at Larung Gar Buddhist Institute with China.
There followed a noisy and colourful march through central London to the Chinese Embassy. Once there, a large, vocal demonstration took place. The heads of the four organising groups also posed for a photo at the door of the Chinese Embassy.
The day ended with many of the demonstrators making the short walk to the Indian YMCA, where a Tibetan cultural event was held. The event gave Tibet supporters the chance to speak with members of the four organising Tibet groups and included an exhibition of photos from Tibet in 1959 and a performance by musicians Tashi Dhondup and Sherap.
In the UK, events were also held in Edinburgh and Cardiff to mark the 58th anniversary of Uprising Day.
Remembering and making history
The 1959 Tibetan Uprising began on 10 March 1959 in the Tibetan capital city Lhasa, when 300,000 Tibetans, fearful of plans to abduct the Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th and current Dalai Lama, surrounded his residence, the Potala Palace, to offer protection.
The Chinese military responded with overwhelming force, resulting in hundreds of civilian deaths. The following week, the Dalai Lama fled to India, escaping through Tibet’s mountains.
Decades later, Tibetans continue to resist the occupation, and every year, Tibetans and their supporters all over the world turn out on 10 March to show their support for Tibetans in Tibet.
Tibetans in Tibet live under intense pressure. Their human rights are abused, their religion and language are under attack and even the ground beneath their feet is at risk. Chinese companies operating in Tibet extract valuable resources and do immense damage to the environment. One company operational in Tibet, the vehicle manufacturer BYD, sells its buses to public transport authorities around the world. Add your name to our petition calling on Paris not to do deals with a company that exploits Tibet.