Phayul Photo: Norbu Wangyal
Paris, March 16: Around 7000 Tibetans and supporters from 14 European Countries took part in a rally here on Saturday to mark the 56th year of Tibetan uprising against Chinese invasion of 1959.
The Tibetan Prime Minister Lobsang Sangay walked alongside Robert Batinder, former Justice Minister of France, Thupten Wangchen and Tenzin Wangpo, Tibetan MPs for Europe, Matteo Meccaci, the Director of International Campaign for Tibet, and representatives of the various Tibetan Communities who have collaboratively organized the march.
Tibetans and supporters from various Tibetan communities in Europe and NGOs walked with their banners from Trocadero to Mur De La Paix in Champs De Mars. The marchers shouted slogans demanding freedom in Tibet and asking China to engage in dialogue with the Tibetan side.
Also present at the rally were French Senator Andre Gattolin, Senator Noel Mamere, former Kalon Jetsun Pema, French actress Veronique Jannot and Former senator Jean Francois Humbert.
Organizers say that the “Europe Stands with Tibet” rally has been organized to commemorate the anniversary of the 1959 uprising by remembering the victims and calling for freedom and respect for their human rights in Tibet.
Reacting to media reports, the Tibetan PM rubbished Chinese claim over the responsibility to chose the next Dalai Lama. “China calls His Holiness a demon but they are so bent on choosing the next Dalai Lama. They should search for reincarnations of Mao, Deng Xiao Ping, and Chou En Lai. It is impossible for a Dalai Lama to be born in a country where freedom is trampled upon”, said Sangay.
The Tibetan PM expressed pleasure to be part of such a large gathering in a city that is known for its freedom and equality. The Tibetan PM said, "It was propitious to see the Tibetan flag flying so proudly in Paris. I Am determined that one day it will fly on the Potala in presence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama".
Sangay also reiterated his government’s firm commitment to the Middle Way Approach to resolve the issue of Tibet, which he said was strategically very important for the rest of the world. The Harvard educated PM also said that the environmental destruction in Tibet has direct impact on the climate of the entire world and that Tibet being the ‘third pole’ must be protected.
Former French Justice Minister Robert Batinder appreciated the Tibetans for standing by their principles of peace and non-violence in their movement under the leadership of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. He assured the Tibetan movement based fundamentally on peaceful and non-violent ideals will surely bear fruit one day.
Thupten Gyatso, the president of the Tibetan Community of Paris, said that one of the main objectives for the Tibetan communities of 14 European Countries to jointly organize the rally was to remind China of the opportunity before it to resolve the issue of Tibet through meaningful dialogue.
He also said that the gathering was decided upon during several meetings among the various communities since October 2014. "We decided to come together to Paris, the city where the words liberty, fraternity and equality have real meaning and a very strong resonance at a critical time for Tibet," said Mr Gyatso.
The rally is arguably one of the largest gatherings for an event related to Tibet in a city outside India, where 130000 Tibetans live as refugees for the last five decades.
Phayul Photo: Norbu Wangyal
A declaration, Wangpo Tethong, member of Tibetan parliament for Europe, said was presented to the public at the gathering. Named Paris Declaration, Tethong said it expresses deep concerns about Europe’s lack of success in influencing China’s policy on Tibet. "It calls on European Governments to develop a coordinated approach in addressing China’s policies in Tibet; to formally receive the Dalai Lama and Tibetan leaders at the highest level; and to publicly endorse the Dalai Lama’s proposal for autonomy for the Tibetan people."
Wangpo Tethong, member of Tibetan parliament for Europe said: “This initiative is born out of our shared desire to see European Governments united for Tibet. With the situation in occupied Tibet remaining so serious, we need to see renewed political support for our people from principled democracies across Europe.”
The former French Minister of Justice Mr Robert Badinter, Vice President of the German Bundestag, Ms Claudia Roth, and former Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Karel Schwarzenberg, are the first signatories of the Paris Declaration.