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Hundreds gather in Toronto to protest China's treatment of Tibetans
CP[Saturday, August 09, 2008 17:00]
TORONTO — About 200 people took to the streets of Toronto on Friday to protest what they say are ongoing human rights violations taking place in China.

The group, which consisted mostly of Tibetan and Burmese protesters, marched from the Ontario legislature to the Chinese Consulate.

Once there, they chanted, waved flags and carried signs that read, "China Lies" and "Free Tibet now!"

The protest coincided with the opening of the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing and were part of a global day of action which saw pro-Tibetan demonstrations take place around the world.

"Through this, we hope to make more people aware of the situation inside Tibet, China and Burma ... and hopefully people with good consciences will join us and put pressure on the government," said Jidgel Dorjee, of Students for a Free Tibet.

"And with pressure from the international community, we hope the Chinese government will produce some tangible results. Right now, all of the media is focused on the opening ceremonies. It's supposed to be the biggest ceremonies ever, so we're doing this to show people that China is not as glorious as they claim to be. It's a totally different picture in Tibet."

Against a backdrop of flags fluttering in the wind, protester Michael Craig held four fake gold medals spattered with blood above his head.

"We are here to let people know that we are fed up with the continuation of human rights abuses in China," Craig said.

Tsering Lama, national director of Students for a Free Tibet, said she participated in the protest because of the conditions Tibetans are forced to live under.

"Right now in Tibet we have one of the worst crackdowns, one of the most repressive times since the Cultural Revolution," Lama said.

"Thousands of monks have been locked up in their monasteries or taken away to other parts until the Beijing Games are over."

Tibet has been under Chinese control since 1949. There have been many reports of human rights violations towards Tibetans in China since then.
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