Last week, Bjork spoke out for Tibetan independence at a concert in China. She ended her song “Declare Independence” by shouting “Tibet, Tibet! Raise your flag!” Well, the message got out. This video was shot yesterday in Toronto at a protest at the Chinese consulate in commemoration of the 49th anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising. The Students for a Free Tibet Canada blog reports:
Towards the middle of the protest in front of the Chinese Consulate Building, a couple of youth snuck behind the walls and managed to get to the rooftop of the building. The boys, one of them of minor age, then proceeded to bring the flag of China down from the pole, and hang the Tibetan flag in its place. This spontaneous action further fueled the energy of the protesters below, as they cheered and applauded the youth for symbolically undermining China’s authority over its own building, and in effect, over Tibet. The boys didn’t manage to completely raise the Tibetan flag, but their inspiring and courageous act of dissent enraptured the emotions of the protesters, many of whom held their breath when the two youth were eventually detained by the Consulate officials. No visible damage of property was inflicted on the building, save for a roughed up Chinese flag, and the youth were compliant with the Chinese consulate officials who stopped the action and detained the two.
The protesters were very worried about the welfare of the two youth and demanded that they be released from the Chinese Consulate building. Some of the marchers who were close to the youth were visibly agitated and were told to calm down by the organizers lest they jeopardize the situation of the two detained. Eventually, the police in the area informed the organizers that the boys wouldn’t be released unless the protesters disbanded and vacated the street and surrounding area. At the urge of the various organizers, the marchers began to stow away the flags and placards and call it a day. At the conclusion of the rally, when most of the protesters had left, the police informed the waiting organizers that the two youth will have to be investigated by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) because “the two had violated the laws on international soil, and hence, the Toronto police had no authority on the matter, and it will be left up to the RCMP to investigate and carry out further actions.” At the time of this reporting, the boys are still under investigation by the RCMP, and are being charged, the details of which are not available at the moment.
I’ve since heard that the two youths were released by the RCMP.
This is an inspiring act of non-violent protest that speaks to the undying will of Tibetan refugees and exiles to restore their independence. It was a spontaneous protest on a day when around a thousand Tibetans and their supporters marched in Toronto on the Chinese consulate. Right now, this video is circulating the Tibetan exile community and bringing tears to the eyes of many viewers at the proud patriotism of these young Tibetans.