[from Phayul.com]

New Delhi, April 10 – Thousands of Tibetan demonstrators carried 154 shrouded effigies, representing the compatriots they believed were killed in a crackdown on anti-China protests in the Himalayan region, in a rally Thursday in the Indian capital.

Carrying placards saying “Stop Cultural Genocide in Tibet” and “China has turned Tibet into a Killing Field,” protesters urged China to release imprisoned Tibetans and remove its heavy military presence from the region.

Roughly 200 protesters marched to New Delhi from Dharmsala, the seat of Tibet’s government-in-exile and home to the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader. The rest of the demonstrators arrived from neighbouring states.

(Photo by Tenzin Dasel/Phayul.com)
(Photo by Tenzin Dasel/Phayul.com)

The crowd carried effigies to represent the 154 victims they believe were killed in the protests and the ensuing crackdown in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, last month. Chinese authorities say 22 people died in the riots that broke out March 14.

China has accused the Dalai Lama, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, of orchestrating the violence to sabotage the Beijing Olympic Games in August and create an independent state.

Samdhong Rinpoche, the prime minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile, said Tibetan leaders were hoping for a peaceful settlement with China.

Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche, the prime minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile speaking to the media. (Photo by Tenzin Dasel/Phayul.com)
Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche, the prime minister of the Tibetan government-in-exile speaking to the media. (Photo by Tenzin Dasel/Phayul.com)

“If they are wise enough, some path for reconciliation might be opened,” Rinpoche told reporters in New Delhi, where he addressed the protesters. “If they remain rigid, the movement will not end and it will sustain by itself.”

The protests are the longest and most sustained challenge to China’s 57-year rule in the Himalayan region, and have focused increased international scrutiny and criticism on China in the run-up to this summer’s games.

The Olympic torch was scheduled to pass through New Delhi on April 17. The international torch relay has faced chaotic protests in London and Paris because of China’s human rights record in Tibet and elsewhere.

On Thursday, five Tibetan protesters briefly displayed a banner reading “No Olympic torch through Tibet” on the path the torch was scheduled take through New Delhi, but they left before police arrived.

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