Dharamshala — A candlelit vigil was held in Dharamsala last night for Tenzin Gyatso, who self-immolated in Khangsar village, Tawa (Ch: Daofu) county in the Kardze (Ch: Ganzi) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture on May 20.
Hundreds of people joined a procession in honour of Gyatso, which began in the Main Chowk before proceeding down Temple Road to the Tsuklakhang where the procession congregated in front of the Martyrs' Memorial.
A period of silence was held for Gyatso before a representative from Students for a Free Tibet, Tsering Yangkyi of the Tibetan Women's Association and Tenzing Jigme, President of the Tibetan Youth Congress, spoke about the implications of Gyatso's death.
Jigme said: "It is very significant that we stand by the Martyrs' Memorial; it is dedicated to all those Tibetans who have sacrificed their lives for Tibet's freedom and for the return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama back to Tibet. We are here to stand in solidarity with Tenzin Gyatso and to honour not only him, but all of those who have self-immolated since 2009."
"The truth is people inside Tibet don't have any freedom. They don't have any freedom of religion, they don't have any freedom of speech, they don't have any freedom of press, all they can do is keep quiet. We must speak out, we must stand up for our brothers and sisters because if we don't, who will?
"On a day like this, we urge the international community to stand in support with Tibet. We cannot fight this fight alone," he added.
Gyatso, who has a wife and four children, set himself alight at 8pm on May 20 to protest the huge deployment of police in Tawa county in response to the plans of Tibetans to celebrate the 80th birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama on July 6.
Chinese police quickly removed Gyatso's body and secretly transported it to the nearby city of Dartsedo (Ch: Kangding), where they reported that he died yesterday at 3pm.
Gyatso is the 139th verified Tibetan to self-immolate since 2009.