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Tibet-Uprising-Day-US-Canada-New-Zealand-2015Dharamshala –Thousands of people across the world joined together in solidarity for Tibet over the past week to honour the 56th Tibetan National Uprising Day and the Europe Stands with Tibet rally.

Tibetan National Uprising Day – which commemorates the anniversary of the Tibetan revolt against the Chinese occupation of Tibet on March 10 1959 – was held in countries including Australia and New Zealand.

In the Australian capital city of Canberra, local Tibetans and Australian supporters of Tibet gathered to show their support.

Yeshi Choedon – President of the Canberra Tibetan community – and Shenpen Rinpotsang – Secretary – gave stirring speeches at the demonstration, stressing the 136 self-immolations that have taken place inside Tibet since February 2009. Tendol Dagpo – Head of the Canberra Tibetan Women's Association – spoke about the wretched situation of Tibetans inside Tibet, detailing the human rights abuses that are being perpetrated by the Chinese government.

Similar events were held in Martin Place, Sydney by the Tibetan Youth Congress, as well as in Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane among others.

In New Zealand, the Tibetan community and other residents of Auckland and Wellington took to the streets to campaign.

Widespread protests against human rights violations in Tibet also took place in 25 cities across Germany. The demonstrations and vigils were part of the Raise your Flag for Tibet campaign organised by Tibet Initiative Deutschland (TID), a German non-governmental organisation (NGO). Tibetan flags were raised in hundreds of municipalities throughout Germany as part of TID.

Nadine Baumann – Executive Director of TID – said: "The human rights situation in Tibet has increasingly deteriorated since Xi Jinping came to power in 2013, despite our initial hopes for a new, dialogue-oriented Tibet policy from the Chinese government."

"This especially concerns basic civil and political rights such as freedom of opinion, freedom of assembly and freedom of religion," she added.

In Frankfurt, Hamburg and Munich, protest rallies were held in front of the Chinese consulates. In Berlin, TID and the Association of Tibetans in Germany (VTD) organised a demonstration in front of the Chinese embassy.

Closer to Tibet, Indian police detained over a hundred Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC) activists who were protesting outside the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi. They shouted "free Tibet" and "rise up for freedom", while others tied themselves together with iron chains. Some Tibetans painted their bodies and faces in the yellow, blue and red colours of the Tibetan flag, according to media reports.

Tenzing Jigme – President of TYC, who was arrested during the protest – said that his group "want to send a clear message to the Chinese government that as long as the illegal occupation of Tibet continues, as long as the oppression continues, the discrimination continues and Tibetan people are denied human rights and freedom."

TYC also called upon all Tibetans to remain united and steadfast in their struggle, and said that they were dedicating their protest "to the memory of the 136 Tibetans who have self-immolated since 2009 in protest to Chinese rule in Tibet."

Four days later on March 14, thousands more Tibetans and supporters of Tibet from across Europe converged in Paris to take part in the Europe Stands with Tibet rally.

Organised by the Tibetan Communities and Tibet Support Groups in Europe, Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay travelled from Dharamsala to address the crowds: "Your gathering here is a major inspiration to the Tibetans in Tibet. They will be encouraged. This is a message of hope. I call on French and European leaders to support the Tibetan people in their demand for democracy and human right in Tibet."

Following Dr Sangay's speech, the former French Justice Minister Mr Robert Badinter spoke, before the Paris Declaration for the Freedom Struggle of the Tibetan people – signed by Mr Badinter, German Parliament Vice-President Claudia Roth and respected human rights activist Karel Schwarzenberg – was read out. It calls for a coordinated and robust policy on Tibet from European governments. A campaign for signatures was launched at the rally and will be led by prominent European personalities until the 80th birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama on July 6 2015.

After the Declaration was announced, a non-violent march unfolded in which Tibetan flags, portraits of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and placards featuring the rally's slogan – "Europe Stands with Tibet" – filled the streets of Paris.

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