Monday, March 11 2013, 10:43 AM MDT
Protestors Gather In SLC To Show Solidarity For Tibet
(KUTV) Free Tibet rallies were held today all across the globe, marking the 54th anniversary of a revolt in Tibet against Chinese rule. It was a failed revolt that brought on stricter rule and forced the flight of the Dalai Lama.
Protestors in Salt Lake City says now conditions in Tibet are worse than ever as they gathered to show their solidarity with the Tibetan people who they say deserve justice and freedom. Pema Chagzoetsang with the Utah Tibetan Association says conditions in her Himalayan homeland are dire.
She says it's understandable why more than 100 people have set themselves on fire in a form of protest against the Chinese government. Most have died from the self-immolation.
"It really is bad right now in Tibet. There are no basic human rights," Chagzoetsang told 2News, "The self immolation shows how dire the brutality, the oppression of the Chinese government is."
She helped organize a rally today at the federal building in downtown Salt Lake, where protestors then marched to the Mayor's office and back, chanting "We want justice" and "What do we want? Freedom".
Some 50 people turned out, carrying signs which read "Stop China's Tyranny in Tibet", "Free Tibet", and "We Stand in Solidarity with the Tibetan People". Chants in their native language and prayers and songs were sung during the rally.
Local protestor Chuck Tripp says this was his 14th or 15th rally here in Salt Lake. He says he hopes their protest can force a change, but says even if there is no political movement, this event unifies the global Tibetan community and the growing Tibetan community here in Utah.
"This helps reaffirm their culture and their rights, religion, to speak their language, and that's a good thing for them," Tripp told 2News.
Beijing considers the Dalai Lama a violent separatist, while the spiritual leader says he is merely seeking greater autonomy for Tibet. He has called on china to investigate the self-immolations.
China has defended its rule in Tibet, saying the mountainous region suffered from extreme poverty and brutal exploitation before communist troops "peacefully liberated" it.
(Copyright 2013 Sinclair Broadcasting Group)