Monday, March 17, 2008

Honk For Tibet

[Protest] It's sometimes easy to forget about the troubles people suffer when they're on the other side of the world, that's why a band of local Tibetans here in Salt Lake have started taking their protest of the Chinese violence in their homeland, to the streets of SLC. Today a group chanted "Free Tibet Now!" outside of the KUTV 2 building on Main Street today, right next to the Gallivan Center Trax stop.

The groups bore signs protesting the violent crackdown on Tibet's recent protests of it's 57 year occupation by China. Violence in Lhasa, has forced a repressive curfew, and exact numbers of injured or dead haven't been determined, although Tibetan Association leaders in the United States have heard unverified claims that thousands of protesters have been arrested and that 70 have been killed.

Lob Sang, one of the Salt Lake City protesters admits that he has heard of draconian tactics in play back in Tibet. "When protesters would get hurt, they would go to the hospitals, so they [Chinese police] started arresting anyone coming into the hospitals."

In Salt Lake, the Tibetan community has staged this latest protest, of many, they hope will help bring more attention to the crisis. Young Tibetan children laid on the ground outside the Channel 2 News station, covered in fake blood and wearing cardboard cut-outs of the symbol of the Olympic Games (referencing China's sponsorship of the upcoming Summer Olympics) while the rest of the crowd waved Tibetan flags and shouted facts about the casualties of the more than half a century plus Chinese occupation of their home country.

There presence may be small in Utah, but they are loud "There may be only 150 or 200 of us here in Salt Lake," Sang says. "But we are part of a much wider demonstration. We may be small, but we must do our part." (Eric S. Peterson)

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