Hundreds of Tibetans gathered at Cubbon Park on Thursday calling for a boycott of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. (Pictures - courtesy: Wangdu, Bangalore)
By Tenzin Pema
Bangalore, April 17 - Tibetans in Bangalore launched the “Tibet Independence Torch Relay” on Thursday, amidst peaceful protests in which over 500 Tibetans called for a boycott of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games, among other demands.
Tibetans from the settlements of Bylakuppe, Hunsur, Kollegal as well as the residents of Bangalore held a peaceful rally in the city from Banappa Park to Cubbon Park, shouting anti-China slogans and demanding a boycott of the Olympic torch relay.
The Tibetan “independence torch,” which was greeted by loud applause and much happiness by the Tibetan protestors, represents freedom and peace -- two of the key qualities missing in Beijing’s Olympic torch, Karma, a protestor said.
Hundreds of Tibetans gathered in Bangalore on Thursday and held an Independence Torch Relay. (Pictures - courtesy: Wangdu, Bangalore)
“The main purpose of launching the Tibet independence torch relay is to highlight the historical fact that Tibet was always an independent nation until the Chinese invasion in 1949 and to protest the 2008 Beijing Olympic torch relay through Tibet,” said Choedhar, President, Regional Tibetan Youth Congress (RTYC), Bangalore.
The independence torch relay also serves to bring awareness to the international community of the dire situation inside Tibet and to highlight in particular the recent brutal crackdown on innocent Tibetans by the Chinese authorities, after hundreds staged peaceful demonstrations all over Tibet to protest Chinese occupation of their land, added Choedhar.
Hundreds of tibetans held a peaceful protest in Bangalore on Thursday. (Pictures - courtesy: Wangdu, Bangalore)
Boycotting the Olympic Games is necessary, as it is imperative that we tell the world that China has not fulfilled its promise of improving its human rights records in Tibet, said Tselha, another protestor, when asked why boycotting the games was important.
The boycott of the Olympic torch relay is also a must, he added, “as this is the first punishment that we can give the Chinese.”
The protestors also demanded that the Chinese government hold direct talks with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and that an independent fact-finding delegation be allowed into Tibet. Their other demands included the release of all political prisoners, and a call for free press to be allowed into Tibet.