London, Uk— British police arrested two Tibetan women on Wednesday, one a British citizen, for staging peaceful protests at Mansion House where President Xi Jinping was attending a UK-China business summit.
Eyewitnesses said that Sonam, 30, a British Tibetan from London and Jamphel, 33, a Tibetan living in Reading, attempted to wave Tibetan flags at President Xi's passing car and were forcefully taken away by police.
Describing the arrests to The Tibet Post International (TPI), Tsering Passang, chairman of the Tibetan Community in Britain said: "As President Xi's car was arriving at Mansion House for a UK-China business summit, swarms of Chinese welcomers lined the pavements in a deliberate attempt to cover up any of the protesters.
Sonam and Jamphel made their way to the front of the Chinese supporters and unfurled their flags and tried to be seen by stepping off the pavement. At no point had the police told anyone to stay on the pavement and there were no barriers up. Sonam and Jamphel were peaceful and calm, they were not blocking the cars or causing a disruption, merely exercising their right to free speech."
Eyewitness photographs show the women were immediately stopped by police officers and forcefully taken away. Neither women resisted the arrest. The London Metropolitan police later told Tsering that the women were being kept in custody for conspiracy to contravene public order and disturb the peace.
Chinese democracy activist and Tiananmen Square survivor Shao Jiang was also arrested at Mansion House but details of the arrest are not yet clear. It is believed that he has been detained on similar charges to Sonam or Jamphel after he planned to block President Xi's car.
"For this entire state visit, the policing has been biased against the protesters and Tibetan people," Tsering said. "Yesterday at The Mall, the whole avenue was lined with red flags and Chinese welcomers whereas the Tibetans were contained in a tiny space. A disproportionate amount of police officers stood in front of us which worked effectively like a barricade and blocked us from being seen. Xi Jinping has all the security and secret police in the world and two Tibetan women are in police custody tonight for waving Tibetan flags at his motorcade, this is wrong!"
He added, "as a British Tibetan, I am shocked that the Met Police would arrest peaceful protesters. Tibetans are being silenced both in their homeland and now in the UK. I demand fair treatment for all protesters who are standing up for human rights and democracy and demand the immediate release of Sonam, Jamphel and Shao Jiang."