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Tibetan Activists Protest Globally as Olympics Near བོད་སྐད།


Tibetan refugees are holding protests across the globe to mark the 49th anniversary of an uprising against Chinese rule in Tibet, and to demand independence ahead of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

In Greece, activists Monday staged a torch-lighting ceremony in Ancient Olympia. They call it a Tibetan Freedom Torch and say they plan to carry it through at least 50 cities on their way to the Tibetan border. The torch is scheduled to arrive at the border August eighth - the day of the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony.

Also, pro-independence exiles in India have begun a march to protest China's tight control over their homeland. Their goal is to reach the Tibetan capital of Lhasa.

Organizers say at least 100 men and women will travel from Dharamsala, in northern India, and hope to cross the Chinese border undetected as they march from the Himalayan foothills into Tibet. They are not disclosing their intended route, in the hope of avoiding Chinese border patrols.

The Tibetan government-in-exile, which is based at Dharamsala, says it is not involved in the protest action. But, in comments on Monday, Tibet's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, strongly denounced China's rule in Tibet.

The Dalai Lama said that for nearly six decades, Tibetans have lived in a state of constant fear and intimidation under Chinese rule. He noted that repression in Tibet continues to increase.

In the Nepalese capital of Kathmandu, Tibetan activists have clashed with police as authorities there cracked down on protesters trying to march to the Chinese embassy.

Chinese troops took control of Tibet in 1951. At the end of the decade, Tibet's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, fled the region to live with followers in northern India.
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