At request of Kalon Tripa Dr. Lobsang Sangay, the Tibetan Prime Minister in exile, there have been mass solidarity vigils for Tibet worldwide on 8th February 2012, to commemorate the victims who died in Tibet because of the harsh oppression by the Chinese government, and the Tibetans who self-immolated. Since March 2011, 21 Tibetans have set themselves on fire in East Tibet, 8 since 6th January 2012.
A new wave of protests broke out in Tibet last month, with demonstrators calling for freedom in Tibet and the return of the Dalai Lama. Chinese security forces have responded to these peaceful protests by opening fire on demonstrators, killing at least 5 Tibetans and seriously injuring many more.
These protests are a cry to the outside world for help. All those who have self-immolated have called for freedom for Tibet and for the return of the Dalai Lama. China’s merciless and violent crackdown throughout Tibet is intensifying Tibetan grievances and exacerbating the resentment felt across Tibet.
On 8th February 2012, candle vigils were organised all over the world: in the USA, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, the United Kingdom, Belgium, The Netherlands, France, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, Austria, Germany, Poland, Norway, Sweden, Ireland, Scotland, Estonia, Australia, New Zealand, India, Japan, Korea, Dubai. Thousands of people stood up for Tibet and participated in this peaceful event, demanding that China acknowledge the growing crisis and immediately address Tibetan grievances before more lives are lost.
The Tibetan community in Belgium and the International Campaign for Tibet have organised a candle vigil in Brussels, in the heart of the city of the European capital. Despite the fact that is was very cold and even freezing that evening, lots of Tibetans participated, lighting candles and praying continuously for two hours in temperatures of -4° Celsius. Many Belgian Tibet supporters came to show their support and solidarity too, which was heartwarming for the Tibetan people. 150 people in total participated.
Dennis Barbion is a Free Tibet Activist based in Belgium.
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