Tibetans Observe Black Monday
Million person online petition calls for China to talk to Dalai Lama
New Delhi, March 31– Tibetans and Indian supporters in New Delhi took part in a Global Day of Action for Tibet today at the Jantar Mantar when the Olympic Torch arrived in Beijing. Along with protests, vigils, and prayer ceremonies to highlight the suffering of the Tibetan people under China’s current crackdown, the world’s fastest-growing online petition– calling for China to hold talks with the Dalai Lama–will be presented to Chinese government representatives and decision-makers. Tibetans in exile and Tibet supporters are calling for all Tibetan areas to be removed from the Torch Relay route. A “Black Monday” was observed today marking the arrival of torch in Beijing.
Tibetans and supporters will present over 100 boxes, each representing 10,000 signatories, of a petition calling for China to hold talks with the Dalai Lama. The petition, which was created by the international advocacy network Avaaz.org, has to date gathered over 1.35 million signatures worldwide. In only 7 days, the petition had over a million signatures, making it the world’s fastest-growing online petition. Tibetans and their supporters were joined by Mr. Rajiv Vohra, a Gandhian and Director of Non-Violence Peace Force Asia, Dr. Anand Kumar, Professor of Sociology from Jawahar Lal Nehru University, as well as parliamentarians from the Tibetan Government-in-Exile and leaders of the most Tibetan non-governmental organizations.
More than one hundred and fifty Tibet support organizations have called on the International Olympic Committee President to cancel the planned visits of the Olympic torch to all Tibetan areas in May and June. The organizations, part of the International Tibet Support Network (ITSN) have also sent letters to Torch Relay sponsors – Coca Cola, Lenovo, and Samsung – calling on them to withdraw their sponsorship if Tibet is not dropped from the route. ITSN will now be appealing to National Olympic Committees to support their demands.