Thousands in New York protest China's rule of Tibet, urge U.N. action

Mon Dec 10, 2012 6:37pm EST
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By Louis Charbonneau

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Thousands of demonstrators gathered outside the United Nations on Monday calling for an end to Chinese rule in Tibet, where dozens of Tibetans have set themselves on fire in recent weeks to protest China's control of their homeland.

The "Solidarity Rally for Tibet" consisted of thousands of mostly Tibetan protesters who marched from Manhattan's West Side to the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza across from the U.N. headquarters by the East River.

The marchers repeated chants such as "We want justice, wake up U.N."

Some carried posters with phrases like "UN: Tibetans need you" and others bearing photos and the names of those who have immolated themselves, such as Gonpo Tsering, who burned himself on November 10, and Kalsang Jinpa, who did the same on November 8.

New York Police officers at the demonstration did not have a precise estimate for the number of protesters, though one officer confirmed an unofficial Reuters estimate of several thousand.

The marchers carried a photo of Tibet's exiled spiritual leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner, the Dalai Lama, at the head of their procession, which took up the entire Dag Hammarskjold Plaza from 1st Avenue to 2nd Avenue.

Demonstrators handed out leaflets that said China has "unleashed repression and brutality in Tibet with greater intensity than in the past since 2008." The leaflet also accused Beijing of "lies and distortion of facts."

Ninety-two Tibetans have set themselves on fire to protest Chinese rule since 2009, with at least 75 dying from their injuries. The number of self-immolation cases have increased this year, with 28 recorded in November alone.   Continued...

Protesters chant and hold placards as they take part in a solidarity march from the Chinese Consulate to the United Nations (UN) Headquarters in support of Tibet in New York, December 10, 2012. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson