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Pro-Tibet demonstrators rally outside U.N.

February 27, 2009

February 26, 2009
NEW YORK (CNN) -- Protesters outside the United Nations headquarters in
New York angrily marked the Tibetan New Year by chanting anti-China
slogans and calling for the UN to "wake up."

The demonstration Wednesday coincided with the 50th anniversary of
China's troop deployment in the disputed region of Tibet. China refers
to the event as "the liberation," but many Tibetans and their
sympathizers call it "the occupation."

CNN observed approximately 250 protesters, but an event spokesperson
said as many of 600 people may have participated throughout the day.

Numerous chants of "United Nations where are you?" and "Shame on Ban
Ki-Moon" were shouted towards U.N. headquarters across First Avenue over
the course of the afternoon. The day began with a morning prayer for the
"departed," for those the protesters said are still suffering in Tibet,
and for a show of solidarity with all Tibetans.

A makeshift shrine to the Dalai Lama was erected and surrounded with
food, candles and Tibetan flags. Protesters wore hats and scarves
adorned with Tibetan symbols, and greeted each other by saying "free
Tibet" instead of the typical "Happy New Year."

The demonstrators said they claim this as a "black year" and will be
mourning along with those still living In Tibet, especially for those
who the protesters say have disappeared.

The group, Karma Namgyal, intends to demonstrate throughout the year, as
well as hold other events, a spokesperson said. The pro-Tibetan group
would like to see the United Nations become increasingly involved in
Tibetan matters, place pressure on China to improve its human rights
practices and engage directly with the Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual
leader, and the head of its government in exile.

The group also expressed disappointment that Secretary of State Hillary
Clinton seemingly placed economic considerations above human rights
during her recent trip to China.
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