March 10, 1997 (Next Report ->)
The 1997 March for Tibet's Independence is off to a tremendous start. All the walkers and the members of The International Tibet Independence Movement would like to sincerely thank the Tibetan community and Tibet supporters of Canada for your hard work in making the beginning of our journey a success.
On March 10, 1959, around Lhasa, the capitol city of Tibet, tensions between the invading Chinese and the Tibetans reached a critical level. Fearing for the safety of their beloved leader, The 14th Dalai Lama, and frustrated by their loss of freedom and brutal treatment at the hands of the Chinese, approximately 30,000 Tibetans rallied around the Norbulingka demonstrating their devotion to The Dalai Lama and demanding that the Chinese leave Tibet to Tibetans.
After days of protests and demonstrations which at times turned violent and promised to become more so, The Dalai Lama, after hearing word that the Chinese were preparing to shell the Norbulingka, made a difficult last minute decision. Instead of attending a scheduled meeting with Chinese officials it was decided that on the 17th of March He would escape Lhasa and escape His homeland of Tibet and lead His people from a position of exile in India.
38 years later, in cities around the globe, Tibetans taking refuge from China's brutal government policy commemorate Tibetan Uprising Day with March 10th demonstrations proclaiming devotion to His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama and reminding the world that Tibet is illegally occupied and the struggle to reinstate Tibet's Independence continues.
Toronto, Canada has been a flurry of activity this year. Saturday morning, March 8th saw Toronto's annual Tibetan Uprising Day walk to the Chinese Consulate. On Sunday, March 9th Toronto's Students for a Free Tibet hosted a benefit concert for The 1997 March for Tibet's Independence featuring Dadon, a Tibetan pop singer, and numerous local rock bands.
Finally, Monday, March 10th in front of the Chinese Consulate the long walk to New York City was kicked off with Pemma Mentuh, head of the Toronto chapter of Students for a Free Tibet, reading His Holiness The 14th Dalai Lama's annual March 10 speech.
Thubten Jigme Norbu, leader of The March, declares, "Po Rangzen!" at the end of reading his March for Tibet's Independence speech.
In front of the PRC Consulate, Thubten Jigme Norbu (left) stands beside Pema Dorje, (right) a Tibetan who will walk all the way to New York City.
The streets of Toronto echoed with the cry of, "Independence for Tibet! Human rights in Tibet! Long live The Dalai Lama! Release the Panchen Lama!"
Tibet Independence Movement