Human rights protests against China

April 10, 2008 12:26:54 AM PDT
At Washington Park and Embarcadero, it has been demonstration central. There was a lot of anger expressed towards the Chinese Government, but there was also mixed emotions among protestors over the rerouting of the Olympic flame.

Members of the Tibetan Coalition were by far the most visible and easily the most vocal of the protesters.

Wednesday was the culmination of three days of protests in San Francisco.

"Now it will send a message to the Chinese Government that it is not only a few people, there are thousands and thousands of people who will come to the street, who do not accept what they are doing in Tibet," said Ngodup Tsering, from the Tibetan Association of Northern California.

Tibet was the largest contingent of protestors, the Uyghur's of east Turkistan the smallest of the organized protest groups. The Uyghur's land in what is now North West China has been occupied by China since 1949.

"They have been persecuting my people, conducting ethic cleansing, they have been suppressing people for their religious freedom," said Rabiya Kadeer as she translated for a protester.

Vietnamese Americans gathered to protest China's annexation of the Paracel Islands. Territory the demonstrators say has been Vietnamese for centuries.

"Why do they want them oh because there is a big oil reserve underneath, maybe the second largest in the world," said Hoa Van Tran, from Westminster, California.

Demonstrators wearing green Wednesday were protesting China's support of the Sudanese Government, which is accused of genocide in Darfur.

"They are stopping any kind of pressure on the Government of Sudan and I think China needs to be held accountable for what they are doing," said Mohamed Ibrahim Elgadi, from Amherst, Massachusetts.

No matter which group you talk with, they all say they know the Chinese are watching these protests around the world.

This afternoon thousands of protestors filled the Embarcadero, as it became clear the flame was being rerouted.

They groups see the Olympic flame as a way to illuminate their grievances against China. Reports that Olympic officials are considering ending the flame's world tour is being met with mixed emotions if the flame goes away, so does the opportunity to gain attention.

Most of the demonstrators we talked with on Wednesday, considered the day a victory. They were happy that they were getting the attention that they were able to get from all the news media lining the Embarcadero, and reporting on their complaints about China.

FULL COVERAGE: SF Olympic Torch Run

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