Solidarity Rally and Memorial Held in Ottawa
[OTTAWA] – Tibetans and Tibet supporters in Ottawa held a rally yesterday, at 12pm on Parliament Hill. They marked the 52nd anniversary of the March 10th, 1959, Tibetan Uprising in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa, where hundreds of thousands of Tibetans rose up and demanded an end to China’s occupation of Tibet. China’s response to the Uprising resulted in the deaths of over 80,000 Tibetans and led to His Holiness the Dalai Lama escape into exile, where he has remained ever since. In the subsequent half a century Tibet’s unique culture and religion have been eroded by the Chinese Government, in what His Holiness the Dalai Lama has called a “cultural genocide”. Even today, basic human rights continue to be denied by the Chinese government.
On Parliament Hill, Conservative MPs, Rob Anders, and David Sweet; NDP MPs, Wayne Marston, and Peter Stoffer; Liberal MP Keith Martin, and Bloc Quebecois MP, Jean Dorion, came to the Tibetan Uprising Day rally and expressed their solidarity and deep concern about the situation in Tibet. MPs from all of Canada’s parliamentary political parties were present at the rally and urged Tibetans and non-Tibetan supporters to not lose and hope and to continue to fight.
Rally goers thanked the MPs who attended for their support and also urged them to help pressure the Chinese government to release political prisoners who have been unjustly detained, and also to press Canadian mining companies in Tibet to act socially responsible, by fostering self-sufficiency, and self-reliance for Tibetans, while also respecting the cultural and traditions of Tibetans in Tibet.
“Despite the iron fist trying to contain the situation within Tibet, the Tibetan people refuse to be silenced and are finding new ways to raise their voices. Since the 2008 Uprising a vibrant literary and cultural resurgence has emerged with writers, singers, ‘bloggers’ and intellectuals daring to use words and music to refute China’s official propaganda about Tibet and the ‘peaceful liberation’. This new generation of Tibetans represents a huge challenge to the Chinese government,” said Arianne Gravel, a board member of the Students for a Free Tibet, during the rally’s opening speech.
“One thing we must remember is that revolution is contagious. What recently began as an uprising for democracy and rights in one Arab country ignited revolutionary fires worldwide that inspired and roused desires for freedom in the hearts of millions. Together, we can help fan the flame of freedom that burns in the hearts of every Tibetan until we create a fire so strong that it burns down the Chinese prison state that oppresses the Tibetan people,” urged Jigme Duntak, a board member from of the Students for a Free Tibet, to rally goers on the Hill.
After the rally on the hill Tibetan and non-Tibetan protestors on Parliament Hill marched to the Chinese embassy where they protested their grievances with the Chinese government’s policies and actions in Tibet.
To see media coverage on Ottawa’s March 10th events, visit our SFT Canada Media Centre.