'Stop the Killings in Tibet!' Protesters Commemorate Tibetan UprisingNYC 11 Mar 2009 22:38 GMT
Put on by the Tibetan Youth Conference (TYC), organizers estimated that anywhere from 1,000 to 2,000 people came out. Draped in Tibetan flags or the uniform white t-shirts printed with a bloodied "50" years of resistance, protestors' high-pitched shouts reverberated across eight miles of the city. Yelling "Stop the Killings in Tibet!" and "China is a Killer, China is a liar, Shame on China, Shame on Killer!" supporters met at Camden Plaza in Bushwick, Brooklyn around 8 a.m. and continued to the United Nations and the Chinese Consulate late into the afternoon.
Last year escalating violence in Tibet precluding the Olympics made this year's annual protest more salient. "That resistance, that revolt, we wanted to keep alive and we want to remember those who have lost their lives," said Tsering Palden, president of the Tibetan Youth Congress.
"Thousands more people die and this is our mourning for them," said Dolkar Dolkar, a member of TYC and student at New York University.
The Tibetan Community reports that over 1.2 million Tibetans have lost their lives as a result of the Chinese occupation. Addressing 2,000 Tibetan exiles in India on Tuesday, the Dalai Lama, a Buddhist spiritual leader, said it has been "hell on earth," for Tibetans under the Chinese government, "these 50 years have brought untold suffering to the land and people of Tibet."
The march also comes weeks following Secretary of State Hilary Clinton's first visit to China, which angered human rights activists and Tibetan nationals across the board. Clinton said, "We have to continue to press them. But our pressing on these issues can't interfere with the global economic crisis, the global climate change crisis and the security crisis."
Palden said Clinton's visit has dampaned his hope for change under the new administration. "[Clinton] said that human rights wouldn't take precedence to solving global financial crises and climate conditions. That has really upset us. If it's not for the human rights and not for the human values then why do we need to pursue resolving other issues? We are trying to resolve all other issues for the benefit of the human being," said Palden.
Protests spanned out all over the world, from India and Tibet and London to several cities in the U.S. But here in New York, impassioned youth pervaded the scene. A 16-year-old volunteer said, "We're going to do anything to get our free Tibet because they have been oppressing our people in Tibet. We don't have our basic human rights, we want out people to be happy, we want our people to be free."