Just three weeks before the Olympic Games, a peaceful protest in support of the people of Tibet was held in Pretoria July 19. Wearing orange T-shirts with the words 'Peace in Tibet'
on the front, more than 50 participants, including Tibetans marched from Springbok Park to the Chinese Embassy in Arcadia holding Tibetan National Flags, banners and placards that read 'Long Live the Dalai Lama'
; ' Stop torture & killing in Tibet
'; 'Release Tibetan political prisoners'
and 'Hu Jintao must show sincerity in talks with the Dalai Lama'
. Led by Mr Andreas Labuschagne, the marchers raised slogans of 'Free Tibet' and called for His Holiness's long life. Representatives from the local Amnesty International and Free Burma Campaign also took part in the rally.
On reaching the Chinese Embassy protected by the local Metro police Mr Andreas Labuschagne walked to the middle of the road and read out the two page memorandum, which was received at the gate by an official of the Embassy. While offering humblest prayers for the victims affected by the recent earthquake in China, the marchers urged 'the Chinese government to seriously consider a genuine autonomous Tibet, with freedom of speech and religion truly implemented and enjoyed by the Tibetan people without interference as it is provided by the constitution of the People's Republic of China.'
In the memorandum, the marchers said, "We deeply feel concerned with the number of peaceful Tibetan protesters killed, injured and detained since the unrest erupted in March 2008. We strongly believe that a conflict can be resolved by the interested parties through engaging sincerely in peace agreements and dialogues, instead of cracking down heavily on Tibetan people and subjecting them to harsh 'strike hard'
and 'patriotic re-education campaigns'
The memorandum further underlined, "that a constructive dialogue on substantive issues with positive outcome needs to be held between President Hu Jintao and His Holiness the Dalai Lama to ensure the welfare of the people of Tibet."
The marchers also submitted copy of the memorandum to South African President Thabo Mbeki, Foreign Minister Dr. Dlamini Zuma and the UN Secretary General.Report prepared by Office of Tibet, Pretoria, South Africa