From RTYC Minnesota
St. Paul, Minn. (March 10, 2011) – More than 500 Minnesota Tibetans and supporters gathered at the St Paul State Capitol to commemorate the 52nd Tibetan Uprising Day. The anniversary commemorates the date in 1959 when tens of thousands of Tibetans rose up to demand an end to China’s occupation.
In advance of the sensitive anniversary, there is an increased presence of Chinese forces and intensified security measures in Lhasa, Tibet’s capital. Foreign visitors are barred and late-night raids on hotels are commonplace.
In spite of China’s military stranglehold on their nation, a new generation of Tibetans is embracing nonviolent resistance tactics that defy Beijing’s authority, strengthen Tibetan identity, and inspire hope.
The Tibetan National anthem echoed the walls of the Rotunda Hall in the middle of the capitol building. The monks from the Gyuto monastery then lead a prayer. Curious lawmakers and visitors stopped to take photos and ask questions.
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama’s statement was read both in Tibetan and English. Statements from other organizations were read.
There were loud cheers and tears of joy when it was announced that that the cities of Minneapolis and St Paul had once again, for the fourth year, proclaimed March 10, 2011 as “Tibet Day”. Tenzin Choden, a Minneapolis resident said, “It is inspiring and heart-warming to know that my city and St Paul have once again dedicated and recognized this day.”
The Proclamation also cites His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama’s visit to Minneapolis in May.
Jigme Ugen, the President of the Regional Tibetan Youth Congress, thanked Mayor R. T. Rybak and Mayor Chris Coleman for honoring and supporting Tibet’s history and its people. He encouraged everyone to call them to personally thank.
After speeches by the presidents of Minnesota’s: Tibetan American Foundation, Tibetan Women’s Association and Students for a Free Tibet was followed by an emotionally singing of the freedom song ‘Long Sho’.
The crowd then swiftly moved to the steps outside to assemble for the rally. Shouting slogans, waving Tibetan flags and battling the chilly sub-zero wind chills in St Paul’s downtown area, the marchers walked past people clapping and cars honking in support.
After the rally, there was a prayer session and lunch provided at the Tibetan community hall. The Gyuto Wheel of Dharma held another prayer later in the evening. A silent vigil was organized by the students at the Macalester University.
Tibetans and Tibet supporters in at least 100 cities worldwide today, including in the USA, Poland, UK, France, Germany, Canada, India, Australia, Japan, the Philippines, and Taiwan, are demonstrating their support for the Tibetan freedom struggle through rallies, marches, candle light vigils, and government lobbying initiatives.
This event was jointly organized by Tibetan American Foundation of Minnesota, Minnesota Regional Tibetan Youth Congress, Minnesota Tibetan Women’s Association and Minnesota Students for a Free Tibet.