Tibetans run relay with freedom torch in Delhi

July 10th, 2008 - 4:53 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 10 (IANS) Wearing yellow head bands with the “Free Tibet” slogan and holding the red-blue-yellow Tibetan flag high, 25 Tibetan refugees ran with the Tibetan Freedom Torch, which reached here Thursday after having passed through several countries. The six kilometre relay began at the Samata Sthal and ended at Jantar Mantar, the observatory in central Delhi that attracts many tourists, amid fiery speeches.

“The Chinese government must have a peaceful dialogue with the Dalai Lama” said a placard at Jantar Mantar. “UN send fact-finding mission to Tibet” said another.

According to members of the Indian Tibet Support Group, the relay is an attempt to highlight the cause of Tibetans at a time when all eyes are on China for the Olympics. There are over 130,000 exiled Tibetans globally, with over 100,000 of them living in India alone.

“The Beijing Olympics is a rare opportunity for the Tibetans to highlight the unjust methods by which the Chinese have occupied Tibet. The Chinese government is trying to use the Beijing Olympics to whitewash its atrocities in Tibet. This is the most controversial Olympics that the world will ever see,” Tsering Choedup, one of the coordinators of the freedom torch relay, told IANS.

The torch, which will travel across the country over one month, has already travelled through major cities of Europe, the US, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, Taiwan and Uruguay.

“The relay began in Olympia, Greece March 10. After Delhi, the torch will travel to Jaipur, then to Jodhpur, all the way to Ahmedabad in Gujarat. Mumbai, Kolkata and Bangalore are the major metros through which the torch will travel besides other places before reaching Leh Aug 8,” Choedup added.

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