Tibetans urge Indians to protest during Olympic torch run

(dpa) - Several Tibetan organizations Sunday appealed to Indian citizens and individuals chosen as bearers of the Olympic torch to protest against the Chinese crackdown in Tibet when the flame passes through New Delhi later this week.
The Tibetan groups said by registering such a protest on April 17, the day of the Olympic torch run in Delhi, Indians would show that they support the Tibetan spiritual leader, Dalai Lama and the Tibetan people's non-violent struggle for freedom.
The statement was issued by an alliance of Tibetan groups including Tibetan Women's Association, Ex-Political Prisoners Movement of Tibet, National Democratic Party of Tibet and Students for a Free Tibet.
"The courageous actions taken by Tibetans inside Tibet over the past few weeks demonstrate that Tibetans have suffered unimaginably under a half century of Chinese rule. They are now risking everything and crying out for freedom," the statement said.
"By speaking out when the Chinese government brings the Olympic Torch to India you will send a strong message to Tibetans, to the Chinese government, and to the world, that Indians support the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan people's nonviolent struggle for freedom and justice," the groups said.
The groups suggested that the torch-bearers could protest by either withdrawing from the relay or wearing a shirt with "Free Tibet" printed on it. They could also hold the Tibetan flag as they run with the torch or issue a statement in support of the Tibetan people before the relay.
The Tibetans also appealed to Indian citizens to join or organize a protest as the Torch passes through the city, wear "Free Tibet" shirt and hold Tibetan flags during the torch relay on April 17.
India has the largest concentration of Tibetans outside Tibet. An estimated 100,000 Tibetan refugees live across India - many of them fled with the Dalai Lama after China cracked down on the Tibetan uprising of 1959.
Apprehending violent protests during the torch run, the Indian government has said it would put the tightest security measures in place and possibly reduce the route to ensure there were no disruptions by pro-Tibet protestors.
Recently, former Indian police officer Kiran Bedi announced she was withdrawing from the run as the security arrangements were too suffocating for an athlete.
Bedi is the second person to boycott the torch relay in India after Indian football captain Baichung Bhutia, who said he was opting out to show support for the Tibetan cause.

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