Thousands of Tibetan exiles came out on the streets in India Thursday, a day before the start of the Beijing Olympics, to protest against alleged Chinese atrocities and "occupation" of their homeland, organizers said.
Nearly 2,000 Tibetans filled the streets of the northern town of Dharamsala where the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, and his government-in-exile are based, raising slogans against China and asking the international community to rally behind the Tibetans, reported dpa.
"A day away from the Beijing Olympics, we stand to let everyone know the true face of the communist Chinese regime and how it has for past five decades killed thousands of Tibetans and attempted to destroy the ancient and sacred Tibetan culture," Ngawang Woebar, one of the organizers of the march, said by telephone.
"We will not allow the brutal communist regime to fool the world," said Woebar, president of Gu-Chu-Sum, or Political Prisoners Movement of Tibet.
In the national capital New Delhi, an estimated 3,000 Tibetans participated in a march from Rajghat, a memorial to Mahatma Gandhi, to the Jantar Mantar area in the heart of the city.
Organizers said many Tibetans were participating in similar marches in key Indian cities.
"Over the past five decades, China has brought immense sufferings on Tibetans, denying us basic human rights and freedom," Dhondhup Dorjee Shokda, vice president of the Tibetan Youth Congress, said.
"It is a moral obligation of the international community now to stand for truth and justice for Tibet," he added.
Meanwhile, authorities in New Delhi laid a multi-layer security cordon around the Chinese embassy as a precautionary measure to ward off violent protests by Tibetans.
The Chinese embassy in the diplomatic enclave was off-limits for the general public and water cannons were placed at strategic points to disperse any Tibetan protestors.
Tibetan activists had stormed the mission in March, leading to a diplomatic row between the Asian neighbours.
India is home to more than 100,000 Tibetan refugees, estimated to be the largest concentration of Tibetans outside Tibet.
Tibetan refugee groups in India as well as other parts of the world have been holding protests in the run-up to the Beijing Olympics, saying they want to use the occasion to draw international attention to China's human rights violations in Tibet.