Rally in Amsterdam

ICT Europe rally in Amsterdam on March 13, 2004.

Over eight thousand people gathered in the heart of Amsterdam on March 13 to take part a Tibetan freedom concert condemning repression in Tibet and the death penalty: “Save Tibet Now!”. The concert, organised by the International Campaign for Tibet Europe and Tibet Support Group Nederlands, attracted not only the attention of Amsterdammers but also their active support with a petition for Tenzin Delek Rinpoche’s release being signed by approximately 4500 people.

Six popular Dutch bands and musicians entertained the crowd at Dam Square with music ranging from acoustic pop and reggae to hard rock. Tibetan musician, Nyima, provided the audience with a taste of traditional Tibetan music, while Tashi Dorjee showed the diversity of the Tibetan people’s talents by reciting Italian opera.

The event was organised to commemorate Tibetan National Uprising Day and to raise the Dutch people’s awareness of the ongoing human rights abuses in Tibet, in the lead up to the Netherlands government taking over the EU Presidency (in July 2004) and the 60th Session of the UN Commission on Human Rights that commenced this week.

The Dalai Lama’s 10 March Statement was read to the audience by Ms. Tsering Jampa, Executive Director, ICT Europe. In his address to the crowd Venerable Yeshi Togden, President of Gu-Chu-Sum, offered his prayers to the people of Spain who are in mourning over the recent bombings in Madrid and called on Europeans to demonstrate their support for non-violent struggles:

“This week’s bombings in Spain were a tragedy and a senseless loss of life. We send our prayers to all the families and loved-ones of the victims. Sadly, politicians and the media too often ignore those who seek attention for their legitimate causes through non-violent means. Yet the best way to tackle terrorism is to support non-violent struggles.

“The Tibetan people have waged a non-violent struggle for the last 50 years. Tibetans believe in a non-violent path to end conflict and injustices. We call on you, our European friends, and the governments in Europe to help us regain our human rights and democratic freedoms. We call on you – the people of the Netherlands – to use your position in the European Union’s Troika to help us peacefully put an end to the suffering of the Tibetan people,” said Venerable Yeshi Togden.