Tibet activists stage a symbolic protest in Beijing an hour before Olympic opening ceremony
SFT[Friday, August 08, 2008 19:38]

Beijing, August 8 – Three Tibet supporters staged a symbolic protest near the entrance to the Olympic park and the Bird's Nest stadium in Beijing today, one hour before the Olympic opening ceremony began. The three displayed Tibetan national flags. Chinese security tackled them 40 seconds after the protest began. Jonathan Stribling-Uss, 27, and Kalaya’an Mendoza, 29, Americans, and Cesar Pablo Maxit, 32, an Argentine-American, were immediately and forcibly detained.

“These activists have delivered a message of solidarity with the Tibetan people, highlighting the grave situation in Tibet just moments before the Beijing Olympics began,” said Lhadon Tethong, Executive Director of Students for a Free Tibet. “The Chinese government wants the world to be dazzled and distracted by the grandeur of the opening ceremony, but its true face can be seen in its ruthless and intensifying repression of the Tibetan people.”

Tibetan imagery is expected to be a feature of the Chinese government’s Olympic propaganda message at tonight’s opening ceremony. Tibet support organizations around the globe have planned demonstrations at Chinese embassies and consulates today to highlight the Chinese government’s attempt to use the Olympics to legitimize its rule in Tibet and call on the Chinese leadership to meaningfully address the issue of Tibet. Tibet groups are planning ongoing protests and events for the duration of the Beijing Games, from Santiago to Montevideo, New York to Toronto, London to Warsaw, Delhi to Brisbane, and many more.

Earlier this week, four members of Students for a Free Tibet hung two banners from lampposts outside the Bird’s Nest Olympic Stadium. The two Americans and two Britons were detained after unfurling a banner reading “One World, One Dream: Free Tibet” and another reading “Tibet Will Be Free” in English and “Free Tibet” in Chinese. They were swiftly deported and arrived in their home countries on August 7th.

Students for a Free Tibet (SFT) is a network of young people and activists campaigning for Tibetan independence, with 700 chapters in more than thirty countries worldwide. SFT’s international headquarters are in New York, with offices in Toronto, London, and Dharamsala, India.

In Asia, Lhadon Tethong, Executive Director, and Kate Woznow, Campaigns Director,
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