Parallel torch rally concludes with cries of ‘Free Tibet’

April 17th, 2008 - 4:42 pm ICT by admin  


New Delhi, April 17 (IANS) Shouting “Free Tibet”, “Hu Jintao murdabad (down with Hu Jintao)”, around 5,000 people, mainly Tibetans, completed their parallel torch rally in the Indian capital Thursday afternoon just before the actual Olympic torch rally begins amid stringent security. The parallel rally, which began at Rajghat at 11 a.m., concluded its around three-km march at Jantar Mantar in the heart of the capital at around 1.35 p.m. There were over 3,000 Tibetans in the rally, including around 1,000 monks.

Wearing white or yellow t-shirts and headbands with “Free Tibet” written on it, the rally members also comprised hundreds of people sympathetic to the Tibetan cause, mainly college students.

The torch was first carried by actor-socialite Nafisa Ali. Later, politician Jaya Jaitley and rights activist Swami Agnivesh also carried the torch.

The rallyists carried placards saying “Free Tibet”, “Stop Cultural Genocide” and “Support Tibet”. Many people had their faces smeared in white paint with the Tibetan emblem or flag painted on it.

A huge tent was set up at Jantar Mantar, where the rally concluded. It looked like a mini-Tibet with monks in their maroon robes and some Tibetans performing dances as people clapped and cheered.

Janata Dal-United leader George Fernandes, addressing the gathering at Jantar Mantar, asked the people to boycott Chinese goods “until the Chinese people give audience to the Dalai Lama and listen to his demands”.

Jaya Jaitley said the police had tried to snatch the torch from her thrice. She described the Beijing Olympics torch as a “torch of shame. This is the real torch”.

Cricketer Kirti Azad said: “I am not against the Olympics but the Beijing Olympics torch is a flame that is burning with the blood of Tibetans.”

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