Chennai, March 19: The members of Tibetan Students Association Madras (TSAM) staged a peaceful protest in front of the Dignity of Labor statue at Marina beach.
Minutes after the protest began the Chennai city police came to the spot and tried to disperse the group. However, the young Tibetan students continued to shout freedom slogans. The police then came with four mini-vans to stop and arrest the protesters with additional force but the students with unrelenting spirit defied police warnings and went on with the demonstration for almost three hours.
Many print and TV News channels were also present. A young student told the media, “The protest is to show our solidarity with the Tibetans in Tibet who have voiced resentment against China’s fifty year long brutal occupation”. Yet another said, “We have not met our parents and families for the past decade and right now we don’t know whether our family members are safe in Tibet or not. The telephone calls are being taped and many are kidnapped every night by Chinese police and the whereabouts of the arrested Tibetans are still not known.”
The young students demanded immediate release of all the Tibetans arrested and to end the Chinese military rule in Tibet. They also called on the Indian government to review its policy on Tibet. The protesters then prayed for those who were killed by Chinese troops in Tibet. TSAM had also organized a candlelight vigil on the 15th of March where the students walked for almost 5km within the city.
The protest was organized without police consent as the city police had denied permission and the students called off the protests only when the Deputy Police Commissioner assured that they will be given permission in the future for such demonstrations.
Meanwhile, another group of TSAM members were successful in unfurling two different 13mt long banners at the city’s famous shopping center, Spencer Plaza. The words on the banner read “FREE TIBET and INDIAN GOVT. SUPPORT US”.