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19february201100123Dharamshala: - Tibet's spiritual and political leader His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama on Friday said recent popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia sat firmly in the tradition of non-violent protest espoused by the likes of India's independence icon, Mahatma Gandhi.

The exiled Tibetan leader said the principles advocated by Mahatma Gandhi had inspired US civil rights leader Martin Luther King and South Africa's Nelson Mandela against apartheid. "Many years ago, from the Philippines up to Chile, popular peaceful movement really brought a lot of change," the 75-year-old nobel peace laureate said on a visit to Mumbai, the India's financial capital.

"Now the same thing has happened in Egypt and Tunisia without a single shot from the demonstrators. So, things are changing. They are following the principle of non-violence."

The anti-government protests that began last month in Tunisia and spread to Egypt saw hundreds of thousands of people take to the streets, successfully demanding the ouster of presidents Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and Hosni Mubarak.

Sporadic incidents of violence were reported, however, mainly between pro- and anti-government factions as the authorities tried to shut down the protests with force. His Holiness said the world "really needs" to learn the principle of peaceful protest after many bloody wars in the last century.

"We should not consider non-violence as a sign of weakness but rather a sign of strength," he told a neurosurgery conference at the Taj Mahal Palace hotel, which itself was the focus of the deadly 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 166.

"The 20th century became a century of bloodshed... If that immense violence, including the use of nuclear weapons, had brought some kind of peace to the world, maybe there would have been some sort of justification," he added. "But that was not the case... The 21st century should be the century of dialogue... in order to create a more peaceful society."

According to the Tibetan government official media, Tibet Net, the Tibetan prime minister Prof. Samdhong Rinpoche in Berlin yesterday also said that the situation in the world is changing very fast - referring to the recent changes in the Arab world. "The Chinese totalitarian regime cannot remain forever. It is against the law of nature. When positive changes come to China, then definitely Tibetan people will get freedom," he said.

It was difficult to predict, he said. But looking at the speed of changes taking place in Mainland China, the dream of freedom for all the people of People's Republic of China is not far, he told the gathering while addressing the Tibetan community and the Tibet Supporters in the country.

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