New York, NY July 18, 2008 — Approximately 500 Tibetan and Western Buddhists engaged in a peaceful demonstration today outside of Radio City Music Hall as the Dalai Lama gave his public talks. This group, the Western Shugden Society (WSS), say they are demonstrating to question the Dalai Lama’s unexamined actions and wishing to be heard since the Dalai Lama has repeatedly refused requests for dialog. The demonstrators spent 6 hours chanting “Dalai Lama Give Religious Freedom” and “Dalai Lama Stop Lying” in Tibetan and English to draw attention to their cause.
The demonstrators remained peaceful even after the Dalai Lama’s public address finished and throngs of people in traditional Tibetan outfits poured onto the streets, at which time 40-50 police were brought in including 6 on horseback to control the group of thousands who were now surrounding the demonstrators.
Police erected metal barriers to push the crowds back. Some of them had to be physically restrained and forced to the ground as the aggressors began throwing objects, including bags of coins and bottles, spitting at, and yelling at the demonstrators.
The demonstrators remained contained, cooperated with police and agreed at the suggestion of the police to be evacuated with escort from the area while 6th Avenue was blocked off for 20 minutes during rush hour. They were told by police that this was necessary as it would have taken many hours to disperse the crowds.
Kelsang Pema, spokesperson for the WSS, says, “If this intense reaction and mob mentality is the result when a few people publicly question the Dalai Lama’s actions on American soil with police present and western laws, imagine how difficult it is for these people to speak up against their unelected leader in the Tibetan community in exile. I hope that the western media will investigate.”