News and Views on Tibet

Protester parachutes off Nelson’s Column

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A pro-Tibet campaigner has parachuted off Nelson’s Column in central London.

Professional stuntman Gary Connery was one of four protesters who climbed unharnessed up the 56 metre (185ft) monument in Trafalgar Square at 0500 BST on Friday, and reached the top just an hour later.

He then leapt off, opening his parachute moments before he landed.

The remaining protesters then unfurled a photo of the Dalai Lama – the spiritual and political leader of the Tibetan people – before abseiling down.

A spokesman for Scotland Yard said all four men had been arrested on suspicion of causing criminal damage and are being questioned at Charing Cross police station.

The stunt was organised by the Act For Tibet organisation, a group that protests against the Chinese occupation of Tibet.

Good cause

They had earlier handed out leaflets apologising for any inconvenience caused and asked for people to be “patient and understanding”.

Speaking after the stunt, Mr Connery said he was “frightened” but he carried out the jump “for a good cause”.

On 7 October 1950, 40,000 soldiers from China’s People’s Liberation Army entered and took control of Tibet, ending decades of independence.

The Tibetan government in exile has estimated that more than 1.2 million Tibetans have died since the start of the occupation.

The Dalai Lama continues to fight for his country’s freedom from his base in India.

Isabel Lowsada, a spokesman for Act for Tibet, said: “For 50 years the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan people have been subjected to the occupation of their country.

“Why don’t governments support the Dalai Lama and his people?”

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