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Tibetan exiles barred from handing protest petition to Chinese embassy in New Delhi

April 1, 2008

Ed. Note – Remember the post “Stand With Tibet” that mentioned the petition on the Avaaz site? Well seems like nearly 1.5 million people around the globe stood in solidarity with Tibet and signed it. Unfortunatly, I’m not sure if it’ll ever make it to the end person that the petition was meant for.

From Associated Press – Indian police barred several hundred Tibetans from marching Monday to the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi, where they planned to submit more than 1.4 million names from an Internet petition calling on China to act with restraint in Tibet.

About 300 demonstrators gathered in downtown New Delhi with 80 boxes containing the names from the online petition, said Tenzin Choedon, an organizer of the protest.

Kept from marching to the embassy, the demonstrators staged gory scenes they said depicted Chinese authorities’ crackdown on recent protests in Tibet. Men dressed as Chinese soldiers pretended to shoot Tibetans drenched in fake blood.

The petition, addressed to Chinese President Hu Jintao, urged China to act with restraint in Tibet where sometimes violent protest have marked the stiffest challenge since 1989 to Beijing’s rule over the Himalayan region.

The activists planned to hand it in Monday to coincide with the Olympic torch arriving in Beijing.

The petition, reportedly signed by people in 80 nations, asks China to “show restraint and respect for human rights in your response to the protests in Tibet, and to address the concerns of all Tibetans by opening meaningful dialogue with the Dalai Lama.”

The Dalai Lama, Tibetans’ exiled spiritual leader, lives in India along with tens of thousands of Tibetans. Indian authorities have let them protest peacefully but tried to block demonstrations that could embarrass China.

“We will not allow them to go anywhere near the Chinese Embassy,” said police inspector Awinash Dwivedi.

Instead the demonstrators marched near the Indian parliament, waving placards calling for a “Free Tibet.”

Some burned products they said were made in China, as well as China’s flag and currency. Others chanted “Hu Jintao is a dog — beat him with shoes.”

The demonstrators also called on China not to run the Olympic torch through Tibet in the wake of the protests that began peacefully on March 10, the anniversary of a failed 1959 uprising against Chinese rule. Tibetan exiles say almost 140 people have died in the violence in Tibet. Beijing puts the number at 22.

The protesters urged the three sponsors of the torch relay — Coca-Cola, Lenovo and Samsung Electronics — to withdraw their support if the torch does go through Tibet.

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