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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?"

300 demonstrators in Marseille to support Return March to Tibet

March 13, 2008

Alternative tibetaine
March 11, 2008

March 10 - Around 300 people gathered in Marseille (France) to
commemorate the Tibetan Uprising Day. This year, the demonstration has
a specific angle: to publicly contest the Beijing Olympics and support
the Return March to Tibet launched on March 10th by five leading
Tibetan organizations (Tibetan Youth Congress, Tibetan Women's
Association, Gu-Chu-Sum Movement of Tibet, National Democratic Party
of Tibet and Students for a Free Tibet, India).

In Marseille, people came from each area of the South-East of France
and many local Tibet Support Groups as well as Amnesty International
joined the demonstration. It was a unitarian meeting, where Rangzen
and Middle Way supporters were walking together, hand in hand, also
with Human Rights activists. They were unified in one common
motivation to show the real face of China as the Beijing Olympics
serve as Chinese public relations to hide the sad reality. Gigantic
banderoles were unfurled at the beginning of the demonstration in
front of the Justice Palace, on which was written: "Justice for
Tibet", "Tibetan Independence", and a specific banderole was devoted
to the "Return March to Tibet supported by France and Europe". At the
same time, just before the launch of the walk, twenty Brazilian
percussionists made their drums resound all over the place and
adjacent streets. As the demonstrators were walking across the streets
of Marseille, many people joined them and there were nearly 400 people
at the top of the demonstration. The people shouted slogans for Human
Rights in Tibet and China, for Tibetan Freedom and against Beijing
Olympics: "No to the Olympics of the Shame".

Arriving in front of the Chinese Consulate, big banderoles were
unfurled once again. After many inspiring and energetic slogan shouts,
calm and serenity reigned as the gathering listened carefully to the
speeches of support. The statement of H.H. the Dalai Lama was read out
and listened to very respectfully. At the same time, the determination
to contest China and Beijing Olympics remained unchanged and it is
supposed to grow even more in the next months. Then the official
presentation of the Return March to Tibet and the memorandum of the
Tibetan People's Uprising Movement were read out. After this, a very
inspiring appeal of Tenzin Tsundue (dated February 11th), followed by
a special message of Lhasang Tsering was read out to the Marseille
demonstrators. Amnesty International representatives also addressed
the meeting, as well as political representatives, like the European
deputy Mr. Jean-Luc Bennahmias.

After the speeches, the ceremony of the "Flame of Tibet" was launched
as an alternative to the Olympics flame of China. Until the beginning
of Beijing Olympics, several events will be held in France to relay
this symbolic alternative Flame: Demonstrations in Paris during the
official relay of the Chinese Olympics flame (April 7th); 24 hours
march on the Mount-Ventoux (June 8th); 15 days march or "Kora" around
the Mount-Blanc (June 8th to 24th). The Tibetan National Hymn
introduced the first relay section of the "Flame of Tibet": A French
initiative to support the Return March to Tibet until the Beijing

Olympics, in the spirit of the Appeal of Chivasso (February 16th)
signed by all TSGs present at the Marseille meeting.

The demonstration received a large coverage of local and regional
media. The French Press Agency (AFP) made a report that was relayed by
Radio France International and Radio France-Info. The demonstration
was co-organized by Tibet Destination Rangzen and Alternative
Tibetaine in collaboration with several regional Tibet Support Groups
and the participation of Amnesty International.

Note: The Appeal of Chivasso (Italy, February 16th, 2008) calls "to
organize any possible initiative to support the march of the exiles"
and "to plan as many initiatives as possible in favour of the Tibetan
patriots who intend to reach their occupied country". It also calls
all European TSGs and Tibetan Communities in Europe to publicly
support the Return March to Tibet. Till now, the Appeal of Chivasso is
signed by forty European TSGs from Italy, France, Spain, Switzerland,
Poland, Austria and Germany: Campagna di Solidarieta con il Popolo
Tibetano (IT), Tibet Culture House (IT), Students for a Free Tibet
Italy (IT), Alternative tibetaine (FR), Tibet Destination Rangzen
(FR), Comitato ISCOS Piemonte (IT), Unione Buddhista Europea (IT),
Movimento Cristiano Lavoratori (IT), Comitato Storico-Umanitario (IT),
Associazione Incontri Italiani (IT), Associazione Italia-Tibet (IT),
Laogai Research Foundation Italy (IT), Comite de Apoyo al Tibet (ES),
Associazione Ticino-Tibet (CH), Tibetan Women's Association Italy
(IT), Etudiants pour un Tibet Libre / SFT-France (FR), Axion Tibet
(FR), Briancon Urgence Tibet (FR), Autodetermination-Tibet 09/31 (FR),
Drome Ardeche-Tibet (FR), Passeport tibetain (FR), Espoir pour le
Tibet (FR), France-Tibet (FR), Nos amis de l'Himalaya (FR), CSPT
Bretagne (FR), Lions des Neiges Mont-Blanc (FR), Mantrayana Tibetan
Association (FR), Tibetan Programme / Program Tybetanski-Poland (PL),
Tendrel-Action Tibet (FR), Sohimal (FR), Tibet Languedoc (FR),
Association Paloise pour l'Art et la Culture Tibetains (FR),
Solidarite Tibet (FR), Tibet 59/62 (FR), Objectif Tibet (FR), Tibet
Liberte Solidarite (FR), Matchik Labdreun (FR), Tibetan Community of
Austria (AT), Tibet Initiative Deutschland (DE), Lions des Neiges
(FR),

A few words about the recent restriction order served by Indian
authorities to Tibetan marchers of the Tibetan People's Uprising
Movement:

"All organizations and individuals gathered in Marseille (South of
France) for the Tibetan Uprising Day, strongly and publicly reaffirm
our full support to the Return March to Tibet. Moreover, the forty
European TSGs from Italy, France, Spain, Switzerland, Poland, Austria
and Germany, which signed the Appeal of Chivasso (February 16th,
2008), reaffirm their complete support to this rightful and courageous
action and urge India to cancel the restriction order served to
Tibetan marchers".
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