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Pro-Tibet demonstrators rally outside U.N.

  • Story Highlights
  • CNN observes approximately 250 protesters; event spokesperson cites 600
  • Protesters greet each other with "Free Tibet" instead of "Happy New Year"
  • Karma Namgyal intends to demonstrate throughout the year
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NEW YORK (CNN) -- Protesters outside the United Nations headquarters in New York angrily marked the Tibetan New Year by chanting anti-China slogans and calling for the UN to "wake up."

Tibet's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, was made honorary citizen of the city of Rome, Italy, on February 9.

Tibet's spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, was made honorary citizen of the city of Rome, Italy, on February 9.

The demonstration Wednesday coincided with the 50th anniversary of China's troop deployment in the disputed region of Tibet. China refers to the event as "the liberation," but many Tibetans and their sympathizers call it "the occupation."

CNN observed approximately 250 protesters, but an event spokesperson said as many of 600 people may have participated throughout the day.

Numerous chants of "United Nations where are you?" and "Shame on Ban Ki-Moon" were shouted towards U.N. headquarters across First Avenue over the course of the afternoon. The day began with a morning prayer for the "departed," for those the protesters said are still suffering in Tibet, and for a show of solidarity with all Tibetans.

A makeshift shrine to the Dalai Lama was erected and surrounded with food, candles and Tibetan flags. Protesters wore hats and scarves adorned with Tibetan symbols, and greeted each other by saying "free Tibet" instead of the typical "Happy New Year."

The demonstrators said they claim this as a "black year" and will be mourning along with those still living In Tibet, especially for those who the protesters say have disappeared.

The group, Karma Namgyal, intends to demonstrate throughout the year, as well as hold other events, a spokesperson said. The pro-Tibetan group would like to see the United Nations become increasingly involved in Tibetan matters, place pressure on China to improve its human rights practices and engage directly with the Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual leader, and the head of its government in exile.

The group also expressed disappointment that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton seemingly placed economic considerations above human rights during her recent trip to China.

All About TibetChinaDalai LamaHuman Rights Policy

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