The Global Action demonstrations were part one part of a worldwide campaign labeled 'Enough!', which has been building momentum as it draws the world's attention to the deteriorating situation inside Tibet, using new and creative means such as the 'Chalk Tibet' concept which has been visibly popular in many cities around the world. The campaign has been labeled urgent due to the current crisis involving the ten young Tibetans who have self-immolated in Eastern Tibet since March this year, eight of which have occurred in the short period since September 26. At least five of these have died including one nun, and seven of the immolators have been linked to Kirti Monastery in the Ngaba region which is currently experiencing a severe and grinding crackdown by Chinese authorities. The incidents have been recognised as desperate cries for help to the outside world, who has been slow to take action for fear of angering China.
Chinese authorities have responded to the unrest by pouring increasing numbers of security personnel into Tibet. Before being forced out of Ngaba, Agence France Presse journalists documented machine-gun toting riot police in the streets, armed personnel carriers used as checkpoints and police stations in Kirti, one of Tibet's major monasteries. Beijing has for its part consistently denied any wrongdoing in Tibet and has asserted its claim of authority with increasing aggression, even going so far as to label the protesters 'terrorists', a ludicrous claim for which legislation was passed earlier this week to enable even harsher punishments.
Aside from the following accounts, other protest cities included Paris, Munich, Berlin, Barcelona, Zurich, Prague, Vienna, Lisbon and London in Europe; Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, New York, Washington & Los Angeles in North America; Auckland, Wellington, Cebu & Tokyo in Australasia; Sao Paulo, Florianopolis, Rio de Janeiro, Montevideo, Bogota & Mexico City in Latin America as well as many others in India and across the continents.
The following reports come exclusively to TPI from its global correspondents.
In an incident that won international attention, two pro-Tibet activists, including one Tibetan, abseiled down the front of Cannes Ville Station and unfurled banners reading "Enough! Global Intervention Now to Save Tibetan Lives" in French. The dramatic action took place as world leaders, including Chinese President Hu Jintao, arrived in Cannes for the G20 Summit. The nine activists involved in the feat were Norbu Gyanatshang (Germany), Martha Graugnard (France), Lobsang Dhondup Reichlin (Switzerland), Guillaume Guilpart (France) Phil Kirk (UK), Pema Yoko (UK), Gyamtso (France), Kate Woznow (Canada) and Jyotsna George (India).
The UK Director of Students For a Free Tibet, Pema Yoko, declared that "today the world is standing up for Tibet. We are calling on global leaders to take coordinated action now to pressure Chinese President Hu Jintao to withdraw Chinese troops and armed police from towns and monasteries in eastern Tibet." Pema was detained following the action.
Deputy Director of Students For a Free Tibet International Kate Woznow, who was also detained, stated that "China's military stranglehold over Tibet has pushed Tibetans to the breaking point and this unprecedented wave of self-immolations is a desperate cry for help. Tibetans are dying for freedom and today we are saying enough to China's occupation of Tibet and enough to the failure of world leaders to hold China accountable for its atrocities."
Tibet campaigners around the world have launched the ‘Enough! Campaign for Global Intervention to Save Tibetan Lives', which has garnered support from celebrities, politicians and other prominent individuals including Nobel laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu, actor Richard Gere and the musicians of Radiohead. They have joined over 21,000 people in calling for multilateral pressure on Hu Jintao to resolve the escalating crisis in Tibet. "We have received overwhelming support for the Enough! campaign from Nobel Laureates, celebrities, politicians, and people of conscience in dozens of countries worldwide. Today we're taking this groundswell of support to the G20 leaders here in Cannes to demand coordinated, global action for Tibet, because international diplomatic pressure will save Tibetan lives from China's growing crackdown," said Norbu Gyantsang, a German-Tibetan member of Tibetan Youth Association of Europe, who was one of the climbers on the action.
Campaigners are calling for a coordinated, multilateral approach, including a joint démarche and the urgent creation of an appropriate and effective multilateral mechanism through which longer-term diplomatic measures to resolve the situation in Tibet can be pursued.
Sydney, Melbourne & Canberra, Australia
Meanwhile in Australia, Tibetans and Australian supporters have joined the November 2nd Global Day of Action on Tibet, holding candlelight protests in Sydney's Hyde Park and in Melbourne's Federation Square this Wednesday night. Sydney's event was led by famous Tibetan writer and activist Tenzin Tsundue, currently in Australia, and musician Tenzin Choegyal, who each played a stirring role in the demonstration.
Officials warned the group in Melbourne to take down any images of people burning as police and security judged them too graphic and horrifying, to the dismay of the public, who showed their support by donating food and coming to have their photos taken bearing the Tibetan flag. A similar event was also successfully held in Canberra, the nation's capital, as well as Perth and the Sunshine Coast.
Coordinated by the Australia Tibet Council (ATC), the Australian protests were organised in the hope of bringing the issue to the attention of the Australian government, after last week a motion on the issue of the situation of Tibetan monks raised by Senator Sarah Hanson-Young was voted down in parliament by Australia's two main political parties. The ATC later met with "key officials working on China in the government" in Canberra to discuss the situation. In Sydney, a 24hr hunger strike and rally was organised outside the Chinese consulate as part of the protest to put pressure on government officials both in Beijing and Australia.
The Australia Tibet Council has also called on the Australian public to make contact with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) in order to put pressure on Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd to make a statement on his alleged talks with China regarding Human Rights in Tibet.
Delhi & south India
As the G20 summit in Cannes was about to unfold, a moderately-sized group of Tibetan students protested outside the Chinese Embassy with Tibetan flags, shouting slogans in protest against the oppression of Tibetans under Chinese occupation, including the Chinese policy of 'patriotic re-education' and the campaign of forced disappearances currently being waged inside Tibet. The protestors wrote "Free Tibet" over the sign board for the Chinese Embassy and burned China's national flag to express their absolute opposition to China's occupation and its draconian policies in their Tibetan homeland.
The peaceful protest called upon leaders of the G20 to urge China to call off the massive crackdown on monasteries like Kirti in Ngaba, noting that stability in Tibet depends on the resolution of the Sino-Tibetan crisis. Delhi organisers appealed to governments in the US, India, France, England and others across the world "to have the courage and wisdom to choose human values over material interests", stating the following:
1. We are asking the world leaders to issue a public statement about this situation and take a clear stance. This will reassure the Tibetan people; especially those inside occupied Tibet, those non-violent actions have a place in this world. Leaders should express their concern about the situation in Ngaba directly to Hu Jintao on the fringes of the summit.
2. There is an urgent need for the military and police at Kirti Monastery, Ngaba, to be withdrawn, the armed military presence in the region to be scaled down, monks to be allowed to return unconditionally to their monasteries and for religious and security restrictions in Ngaba to be lifted.
3. All Tibetans detained for participating in peaceful protests since 16 March 2011 must be released and the whereabouts and well-being of all those who self-immolated since 2009 must be accounted for.
In the south of India, a campaign was jointly organised by the South India Tibetan NGOs namely RTYC and RTWA; in Bylakuppe, Hunsur, Kollegal, Mundgod, Bangalore, Mysore and TSAM Chennai, with simultaneous protests in these places on the day of Global Action which concluded successfully and with mass participation.
... and in Nepal
The heavy-handedness of Nepalese security forces did not deter Tibetans in Nepal from continuing to raise their voices as part of a three-day Global Action. Day 2 of the Global Action campaign started with an incense burning ceremony, which was attended by about 200 people with an encouraging speech from Tamding, President of RTYC, followed by Lhakar Oath for Tibet. It then launched the blood letter-drive outside the gates of the Tibetan camp in Jawalakhel, an appeal for letters in blood to be sent to all the leaders of G20 urging them to take action.
As of yesterday, Nepalese armed forces have been conducting individual house searches and arresting Tibetans. Tibetan camps have been experiencing a curfew-like situation where many are debarred from leaving their houses. The Tibetan Camps have been turned virtually into fortresses, manned by a robust army of Nepalese police. All eyes and guns are busy scanning for Tibetans who participated in yesterday's event. Phone lines have allegedly been tapped, particularly those suspected of being leaders of the organised event.
Nepalese armed forces surrounded the camp ground, blocking all exits and threatening to seize all of the blood letters. Some of the Tibetans were photographed after falling to their knees with their hands clasped, begging Nepalese authorities to allow the solidarity action to continue.
Tibetan Sonam Chodoen (42), in a moment of sheer frustration at the situation of virtual 'house arrest', reportedly doused herslef in kerosene and was about to set herself ablaze when fellow group members stepped in to wrestle her lighter from her. She is the same activist who earlier in an April 2011 hunger strike was humiliated by being forced to strip off her T-shirt that bore the words 'Free Tibet' and 'Stop the killings in Tibet'. She is now being sought by Nepalese forces along with the President of RTYC Kathmandu and faces imprisonment along with all of the other hunger strikers.