Demonstrations shine light on alleged rights violations by China

It was an emotional show of force through the most passive means possible, lying on the street.



More than 1,000 members of Toronto’s Tibetan community and their supporters turned out yesterday for the first large-scale demonstration organized to shine a spotlight on alleged human rights violations by China and the crackdown on press freedom in the face of rising civil unrest in Tibet.



Walking four abreast and covering the length of a full city block, demonstrators waved dozens of Tibetan flags above their heads and carried graphic images of people they said had been imprisoned, tortured and killed by Chinese authorities.

They shouted slogans "China Lies, People Die" and "Shame on China," "The World is Watching," as they wound their way east along Queen Street West, before turning north on Yonge Street, then west on Wellesley Street, finally congregating at Queen’s Park.

There were also resounding cries of support for the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader, whom the Chinese government has accused of inciting dissent at a time when the country is trying to improve its international image leading up to the August Olympics in Beijing.

Protest organizers said their goal is to pressure the United Nations to organize an international fact-finding mission to reveal the conditions currently facing the citizens of Tibet. As well, they want the International Olympic Committee to take Tibet off the Olympic torch relay route to Mount Everest.

passive protest

  • At major intersections along the route a significant number of people at the front of the procession lay prone, blocking streetcars and traffic. Police officers redirected cars as the crowd wove through the streets.