Hundreds march through Manhattan against China’s occupation of Tibet on what marked the 62nd anniversary of the Tibetan National uprising.
Between 400-500 individuals paraded in two, single-file lines through the streets of Midtown Wednesday afternoon. Flying a sea of Tibetan flags and signs denouncing the Chinese government for what they call human rights violations, the large number of participants kept to the sidewalks despite the flood of humanity. Chants of “China lies, people die!” and “Shame on Chinese Government” could be heard echoing through the expansive halls of Grand Central Station as the protest headed Uptown, shadowed closely by NYPD officers. Police officials followed on foot, by car, and on bike carefully monitoring the situation.
The aim of this rally was to raise awareness of the Tibetan National uprising, which began on March 10, 1959 in response to China’s occupation of the Central Asian province. Now known as the Chinese autonomous region, China still controls the area 62 years later.
According to a statement from the protest group, Students for a Free Tibet, over 1.2 million Tibetans have perished as a result of the occupation while also declaring that the rivers running through Tibet are being polluted. They also say freedom of speech and merely raising a Tibetan flag can lead to torture. With many in the country—and all around the world—still recognizing the Dalai Lama as the true head of Tibet, it is hoped by organizers that protests such as these will draw more attention to the plight of the Tibetan people and the over half-century long struggle.
Some New Yorkers who witnessed the massive march instantly began filming the proceedings on their cell phones, which marchers took every opportunity to jump in front of in order to condemn China for holding the area. However, for other Manhattanites, it was just another day in the big city.