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Arrested Tibetan marchers on hunger strike for second day

June 23, 2008

June 20, 2008

41 Tibetans arrested in border district, stopped from restarting
March to Tibet on eve of torch relay in Lhasa

Shimla, June 20 -- 41 Tibetans headed to the Indo-Tibet border on
Shipkila pass to restart the March to Tibet were arrested by Indian
police in four separate incidents. 10 Tibetans arrested in Rampur in
Shimla district in Himachal Pradesh yesterday sat for the second day
of hunger strike today, refusing to eat and drink unless they are
released and allowed to continue the march. 21 Tibetans arrested
yesterday in Reckong Peo in Kinnaur district, after a day of hunger
strike, were promised by the police authorities that they would be
allowed to protest China's occupation of Tibet. On their way from the
police station to the SDM office, the marchers took to the street,
shouted slogans and pleaded with the authorities to facilitate their
safe passage to Tibet.

"We are Tibetans demanding our right to return to our homeland," said
Dr. B Tsering, President of the Tibetan Women's Association, speaking
from Paonta Sahib where the 300 marchers are being hosted by the
local Tibetan communities. "International law concerning refugees'
right of return demands that China must not stop us from going to
Tibet while India must facilitate our journey instead of obstructing it."

Yesterday morning, three Tibetans walked toward the Indo-Tibet border
on Shipkila Pass, planning to hoist a Tibetan flag on Tibetan soil.
About ten kilometres from Tibet, they were apprehended by the border
police and detained. However, minutes before their arrest, the three
were able to unfurl Tibetan flags and a banner reading "Free Tibet
Now." Seven other Tibetans planning to join the three were arrested
the day before in Pooh.

"The Chinese government is using the Olympic torch as a political
tool in an attempt to legitimize its rule in Tibet and the
International Olympic Committee has now endorsed this cynical
propaganda scheme," said Konchok Yangphel of Tibetan Youth Congress,
one of the three arrested at the border post. "Tibetans will keep up
our struggle long after the Beijing Olympics have ended, and we will
never give up until we stand as free people on Tibetan soil."

Tibetans living in exile in India launched the March to Tibet as part
of the Tibetan People's Uprising Movement. On the same day that the
march was launched, monks from monasteries in Lhasa, as well as in
eastern Tibet, led non-violent demonstrations, shouting slogans
supporting the Dalai Lama and independence for Tibet. Chinese
authorities brutally suppressed peaceful protests that continued for
days, leading to rioting in the capital and a wave of large public
demonstrations that have rippled across the country. The March to
Tibet and the Tibetan People's Uprising Movement aim to revive the
spirit of the Tibetan National Uprising of 1959 by engaging in
non-violent direct action to bring about an end to China's illegal
occupation of Tibet.

Tsewang Rigzin: +91 9805247259
Dr. B Tsering: +91 9418335155
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
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