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23-October-2011-london-delhi-tibetDharamshala: - The newly formed Tibetan Solidarity Movement staged a four-day series of actions in India from October 18 to 21, in solidarity with the recent series of self-immolations in and near Kirti Monastery, Ngaba county, eastern Tibet.

On October 18, the movement, which was launched by the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile in Dharamsala, held a 24-hour fast and prayer session, attended by 35 members of parliament and over 1,000 monks and nuns.

Several Indian supporters also joined the fast, including former Indian MP and Tibet supporter Kiran Rijiju, who said, “It is in India's interest to resolve the Tibet issue."

Around 4,000 Tibetans from across India and Nepal gathered at Rajghat, Delhi, the next day - October 19 - to participate in an inter-faith prayer meeting, during which religious leaders from seven different faiths - Buddhism, Sufism, Christianity, Jainism, Islam, Hindu and Bahai - offered prayers for Tibet.

More than 2,000 Tibetan monks and nuns then led a mass rally to Jantar Mantar. Among the rally's Indian supporters were: MP and member of Indian Parliamentary Forum for Tibet, Mohan Singh; Â BJP vice-chairman, Hoshyari Bhagat Singh; and journalist and veteran Tibet supporter, Vijay Kranti.

On October 20, around 1,000 women including Tibetan MPs, Â nuns, students, professionals, mothers and activists led a rally from Ramlila ground to Jantar Mantar, in Delhi.

The final day of action, October 21, saw more than 1,500 young Tibetans lead another rally from Ramlila to Jantar Mantar, during which several participants painted their bodies with the names of the Tibetans who have self-immolated in Ngaba.

Artists from Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts performed solidarity songs at the closing session, and the event concluded with a candlelight vigil.

Prior to the rallies, a delegation of Tibet MPs lobbied Indian government officials, political party leaders and 17 foreign embassies with the following calls for action:

- To strongly urge the Peopleâ€TMs Republic of China to respect the fundamental right of the Tibetans to freely practice their religion.

- To strongly urge the People's Republic of China to review its existing policies in Tibet in order to have a truly harmonious society.

- To appeal to International governments and the United Nations to call on China to genuinely uphold international human rights standards.

- To call on China to allow international independent fact-finding delegations and media to visit Tibet and in particular Kirti Monastery.

- To call on China to completely withdraw Chinese military presence from Kirti Monastery.

- To call on China to clarify the condition and whereabouts of Lobsang Kalsang (age 18), Lobsang Konchok (19), Kelsang Wangchuk (17) and Norbu Damdul (19).

International response to recent events in Tibet has included US State Department spokesperson, Mark Toner, on October 17 saying, "We urge China and its leaders to respect the rights of Tibetans, to address some of the policies in these Tibetan areas that have created tension and to protect the Tibetans' unique religious culture and linguistic identity."

On October 21, Mr Andreas Peschke, speaker of the German foreign ministry, appealed to China to change its policy in Tibet, in order to reduce tension, saying, "The federal government is appalled at the rising number of self-immolations in the Tibetan regions of southwest China."

Australian Green Party leader, Senator Bob Brown, also made a statement on Ocober 21, calling on the Australian government and world leaders to speak up for Tibetans.

Report submitted by: Youdon Aukatsang and Dhardon Sharling, Tibetan Solidarity Movement. More photos of the event, please click the link: Tibetan Solidarity Movement, October 2011.

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