Five Tibet activists detained at Tiananmen SquareAugust 10th, 2008 - 10:51 pm ICT by IANS
Beijing, Aug 10 (DPA) Chinese police detained five Tibetan independence supporters at Beijing’s Tiananmen Square Sunday, after the latest in a series of protests in the Olympic host city. A video circulated by New York-based Students for a Free Tibet showed the police arresting the protesters and dragging at least two of them into a shop on the edge of the square.
One of the protesters unfurled a Tibetan flag and shouted “Free Tibet” outside the shop while another, identified as 21-year-old German Tibetan Padma-Dolma Fielitz, was dragged along the floor into the shop.
“The whole thing lasted about 5 minutes,” Sophia Conroy of Students for a Free Tibet told DPA by telephone from New York.
“All five protesters were detained by the Chinese authorities and their present whereabouts and status are unknown,” the group said.
Two US and two Canadian citizens were among the five, including American John Hocevar, the group’s founder, who witnessed a protest by the group in Tiananmen Square Saturday.
“I am protesting today to tell the world that, while it stares mesmerized at China’s Olympic Games, my people are being crushed under the boot of Chinese oppression,” Padma-Dolma Fielitz was quoted as saying in statement before the protest.
Another five Canadian activists reported that they were held and questioned at a Beijing hotel Sunday morning, the group said.
Police Saturday detained five members of pro-Tibet groups after they staged a “die-in” in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, Hocevar and other supporters said.
Hocevar Saturday said plain-clothes police took away the five activists after about 10 minutes.
He said uniformed paramilitary and city police stood back and allowed the plain clothes officers to handle the protest, in contrast to the rapid and decisive action against three pro-Tibetan protesters who displayed Tibetan flags near the Olympic Green Friday evening.
“Our protesters were tackled to the ground in less than a minute,” Hocevar said of Friday’s protest.
Despite the heavy security in Beijing, foreign activists have managed to stage other protests.
Two US and two British citizens were detained Wednesday after the Britons scaled a 40-metre lighting post near the Olympic Green and unfurled a huge banner calling for independence for China’s Tibet region.
All seven people involved in the two protests Wednesday and Friday were quickly deported from China, the Free Tibet Campaign said.
Three US anti-abortion campaigners staged a brief sit-in on the edge of Tiananmen Square Wednesday afternoon, state media said.
Two local pro-Tibetan protesters were thrown out of an Olympic equestrian event in Hong Kong Saturday after they unfurled a Tibetan flag.