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19thmay201100y91Dharamshala- A candlelight vigil was held in the North Indian town of Dharamshala last night (18th May) to show support and unity for the three hunger strikers in New Delhi. Three members of the Tibetan Youth Congress began fasting on 25th of April, and are currently in critical health. They are aiming to raise awareness for the crackdown at Kirti Monastery, Tibet, which has seen much violence and unrest at the hands of Chinese Officials in recent months.

The candle-light procession, organized by the Tibetan Youth Congress, began at 7pm in the main square of McLeod Ganj - Himachal Pradesh. A crowd of over 200 protesters marched through the streets, shouting their support for Kirti and the hunger strikers. Having looped the main town twice, the protesters- largely monks, made their way down the hill to the main Tibetan temple (Tsuglakhang). A river of anguished people held aloft candles in the still evening air as they journeyed down. Huge Tibetan flags were waved, and photos of Gandhi were held aloft.

The protest brought together the two communities in Dharamshala; incorporating Gandhian-Indian techniques of peaceful protest, with the Tibetan struggle.

Key figureheads including H. H the Dalai Lama and Kirti Rinpoche have expressed their ‘earnest concern' about the health of the hunger-strikers, and have urged them to call off the protest. The health conditions of the hunger strikers are deteriorating. Dhondup Lhadar has lost over 16 kgs, Tenzin Norsang 11 kgs and Konchok Yangphel 13 kgs. Their blood pressure has also been below normal for the last few weeks.

Upon arrival at the Main Temple, candles were discarded and the community of protesters gathered round the speakers from the TYC.

In an exclusive interview for the Tibet Post, Migmar (Kelsang) of the RTYC stated:

"Today we show our support for the hunger strikers. We ask the Chinese government to release those in Kirti Moanstery [Tibet]". He added;

"We appeal to the international community to please assist in our demands. We also recognize the indefinite hunger strike in New Delhi. We are here on behalf of the Tibetan people suffering in Tibet- we are supporting these people, to raise awareness globally".