Protesters chant and hold placards as they take part in a solidarity march in support of Tibet from the Chinese Consulate to the United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York. Photo by Reuters
Thousands of demonstrators gathered outside the United
Nations in New York 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
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 Nov. 10, and Kalsang Jinpa, who did the same on
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
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.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said last week
that the Tibet issue had nothing to do with human rights,
ethnicity or religion.
He repeated the official stance that Tibetans had enjoyed
unprecedented advances and rights under Communist Party rule,
blaming the Dalai Lama for inciting the self-immolations.
Hong was responding to comments from Maria Otero, United
States Special Co-ordinator for Tibetan Issues, who said in a
statement last week that tensions in Tibetan areas, including
self-immolations, had been exacerbated by tough Chinese
policies and controls.
Hong described Otero's remarks as "disgusting."
Last month the U.N. human rights chief Navi Pillay urged
China to address deep-rooted frustrations that have led to
desperate forms of protest by Tibetans, including