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Under the banner of Europe Stands with Tibet, the Tibetan communities and Tibet support groups from 14 European nations organized a protest rally in Paris on March 14, 2015.

Sources approximate that over 7,000 people participated in the day long event where marchers called for freedom in Tibet and demanded that China resume dialogue to resolve the Tibetan issue.

Exile Tibetan leader Sikyong Lobsang Sangay addressed the crowd and said that China’s claims on the right to select the next Dalai Lama was like Fidel Castro wanting to select the next Pope.

The first ever pan Europe rally was attended by several Tibetan and European leaders, including Wangpo Tethong and Thupten Wangchen, the two representatives for Europe at the exile Tibetan Parliament, and Robert Badinter, former French Minister for Justice, and Matteo Meccaci, President of International Campaign for Tibet.

At the end of the rally, a proclamation on Tibet called the Paris Declaration was read and adopted which calls for European governments to develop a coordinated approach in addressing China’s policies in Tibet; to formally receive the Dalai Lama and Tibetan leaders at the highest level; and to publicly endorse the Dalai Lama’s proposal for autonomy for the Tibetan people.

Mr Robert Badinter, Ms Claudia Roth, Vice President of the German Bundestag and respected voice for human rights, and Mr Karel Schwarzenberg, former Czech Foreign Minister and close collaborator of Vaclav Havel, became the first signers of the Paris Declaration.

An organizer and spokesperson for the rally, Thupten Gyatso, tells VOA that the success of the rally was the result of hard work and collaboration between many organizations and people, and that the most significant achievement of the rally was that Tibetans from all across Europe were able to gather at one place to make their voice heard.

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