Protest inside Tibet captured on tourists' cameras

Yingsel Rangzen from Students for a Free Tibet points us to a blog post about a protest against China's occupation of Tibet that took place in Lhasa, Tibet yesterday — captured by tourists' cameras.

Snip from post:

[The Tibetan protesters] form a strong, silent, peacefull circle around the police who keep the middle of the square open. Soon they call for backup.

Undercover agents, not so difficult to recognize, film the whole happening. Especially the faces. This is one method to create fear. Suddenly there is panic. 6 or 7 monks are arrested and driven away.

Tibetans are very scared because of the stories about the prisons and tortures. In the meanwhile, big numbers of policemen arrive. They drive everybody apart. But until sunset small groups of people stay around. There are tourists, Tibetans and Tibetan resembling spies. Apparently we stick around to long because some Tibetans start to warn us to be careful about the undercoverpolice who are watching us closely.

We even get a note that says we are being followed and have to be carefull about what we say. The whole evening misty figures keep following us, even to the restaurant and the bar.

The Chinese police almost manages to give the impression that it´s just a small manifestation that they can easily control. From our Portugees friends, Miguel and Clara, who visit one of the biggest monasteries (Drepung) nearby, we learn that the Chinese approach (away from touristic eyes) is much harder.


The protest in Lhasa was one of many around the world on March 10, Tibetan Uprising Day. Participants aim to…

…draw attention to the worsening human rights situation inside Tibet (…), use the Olympics spotlight to shame and embarrass the Chinese government, and show them that until Tibet is free, China will never be never be accepted as a leader on the world stage.

I have been to the place where this event occurred, and am familiar enough with the region's political history to understand that a protest of this scale, at this site, is unusual and significant.

From what I can gather, hundreds of ethnic Tibetans gathered on Barkhor Square, an open-air market area that surrounds Jokhang Temple (a very large temple that is the heart of Lhasa's traditional quarter, generally considered to be the most important temple in Tibet). I spent time in and around this place, and saw surveillance cameras throughout the site.

Students for a Free Tibet is covering the story, and claims this is the largest protest of the Chinese occupation of Tibet to take place inside Tibet in over 50 years. (Thanks, Sam Chapin)