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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

200-person rally for Tibet at MOA gets shut down

February 17, 2009

Tibet supporters gathered at the Mall of America Saturday for a ‘freeze’

A security guard at the Mall of America asks a protester to leave the
mall Saturday during a gathering to reflect on the 50th anniversary of
Chinese control over Tibet.

BY Isaiah Potts
PUBLISHED: 02/15/2009

Valentine’s Day, typically a day synonymous with love, peace and
harmony, meant more for some of Minnesota’s Tibetan population on
Saturday as they prepared for a rally at the Mall of America in
recognition of the upcoming 50th anniversary of China’s invasion of Tibet.

About 200 Tibet supporters overtook the rotunda area at the mall, much
to the astonishment of mall personnel.

At noon, the group, dressed in white tops and bearing Tibet banners and
flags, froze in unison for five minutes before the peaceful
demonstration was broken up by mall security.

Security declined to comment and a mall spokesperson was not available.

Sangay Taythi , a board member of the Tibetan Youth Congress , which
helped organize the protest, said China is making “Tibetans minorities
in their own land.”

“Tibetans have a right to exist,” he said.

President of the University’s chapter of Students for a Free Tibet and
political science junior Ngawang Dolker participated in the event, along
with her fellow board members. Minnesota has one of the nation’s highest
populations of Tibetans, she said.

Ten years after China’s 1949 invasion of Tibet, tens of thousands of
Tibetans directed an uprising against the Chinese . To this day, the
struggle continues. March 10 will mark the 50th anniversary of the uprising.

The Chinese government says that Tibet is a part of China, and that
Tibetans are just a small portion of the nation’s huge population.

Henry Caine, 41, was in the midst of shopping for Valentine’s Day gifts
when the demonstration took place and said he was caught off guard by
the event.

“I really didn’t understand everything that was going on at first,”
Caine said. “Even after the thing was stopped, I was still a little
confused about it.”

Taythi said, although he thought Saturday’s event was a “success,” there
will be more actions to come.

On Saturday evening, the Tibetan Youth Congress hosted a benefit party
entitled “No Love for China.” Proceeds will be allocated to
Tibet-related campaigns, including the upcoming National Tibetan
Uprising, slated for the anniversary date.
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