At around 7:30 a group of Tibetans proudly flying their magnificent national flag marched into Freedom Square shouting “Free Tibet!” This marked the start of the Taipei event to mark the 50th anniversary of the Tibetan Uprising.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s representative in Taiwan, Dawa Tsering, spoke about the many difficulties Tibetans faced in Tibet and how Tibetan culture and language were threatened by the policies of the Chinese government. He said the current situation in Tibet is like martial law.
Candles were laid on the ground spelling out “50” and “Free Tibet”. Inside the 50 were photos of Tibetan political prisoners and those who had died during the freedom struggle.
A group of Tibetan monks led chanting before the President of Taiwan Friends of Tibet, Chow Mei-li spoke. She said that 20 community organisations in Taiwan had joined together to organise the activities to mark the 50th anniversary of the Tibetan Uprising. She invited everyone to the Free Tibet rally in Taipei on Saturday and hoped that all Taiwanese could shout, “Free Tibet! Exiled Tibetans want to go home!”
Next, Ven. Ngawang Woebar, the President of the Gu Chu Sum Movement, an organisation of former political prisoners, gave a speech in Tibetan. The Tibetans then sung their national anthem before everyone began a circumambulation of Freedom Square.
An action was also held earlier in the day in Kaohsiung and DPP-led local governments declared the day “Tibet Day”. There will be a march and rally for Tibet in Taipei on 14 March. It starts at 1:00pm from Exit 2 of the Zhongxiao Fuxing MRT Station.
*More photos in the 310 action set at flickr.