Auto convoy demonstrates against Tibetan independence

Other News Materials 19 April 2008 10:29 (UTC +04:00)

(dpa) - A convoy of cars drove through two diplomatic neighbourhoods in Beijing on Saturday to protest independence for Tibet.

The unusual protest parade featured signs in several languages reading "Tibet belongs to China," eyewitnesses said.

Protestors presented themselves as members of an automobile club, driving 15 small cars made by the Chinese brand Chang'an "Ben Ben." The drivers played the national anthem and flew red flags.

Before the protest police secured the streets in the Sanlitun district, especially in front of the French embassy.

Protests against China's crackdown in Tibet have plagued Olympic torch relays worldwide ahead of the August games in Beijing, and France has been especially critical. There have been wide calls in China to boycott French goods.

Political demonstrations are generally not allowed in China's capital, but in the past authorities have tolerated protests that support government positions, such as one against the bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade by NATO in 1999.