“Free Tibet” Traffic Circle Dedicated in France
Paris 7 March, 2005: The town of Oloron Sainte-Marie, near Pau in the Pyrenees in the South West of France
dedicated a traffic circle in the town as the “Free Tibet” Circle on March 5. The inauguration of the dedication was held in the
presence of Mr. Tashi Phuntsok, Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama for Western Europe.
“The Free Tibet Circle” and “Inaugurated with the Representatives of Tibetan Government in Exile, on March 5, 2005′ written in French on
two slates of Indian granite was formally unveiled together by Mr. Harve Lucbereilh, Mayor of the town, and Mr. Tashi Phuntsok. The
slates were nailed on a huge slab of the Pyrenees rock. They also planted a highland tree on the Circle.
Earlier, the representative of APACT, the main TSG in the region, and at whose initiative the town unanimously decided to dedicate the
circle for Tibet, gave a detailed background on the situation of Tibet, in particular the destruction of Tibet and the repression of
Tibetan people under China. The Mayor took up the same tone in his speech of the dedication. “Knowing the tragedy of Tibetan people and
that the people of Oloron could not keep silent”, he said, “the dedication of the circle was a symbol of support by people from one
mountain to the people of another mountain though the Pyrenees are not as high as the Himalayas and its rivers not so mighty as the
The mayor impressed the gathering with further symbolism of fraternity between the two peoples. He mentioned the specific choice of the
sapling of the high mountains and the choice of the granite from India – though not from Tibet but nearer to Tibet, he said – and indeed
its category – the Himalayan Blues. The traffic circle was adorned with Flag of Tibet in the centre with prayer flags radiating from it.
Mr. Tashi Phuntsok thanked the mayor and the people of the town profusely. He
said, “Indeed though the Pyrenees are not high and its rivers not mighty as the Himalayas, the people of Oloron has shown that its
people has the mighty courage and high principle for its dedication of the circle is unique and courageous political statement.” To his
knowledge it was first that a public traffic circle was so dedicated for Tibet, he said.
The town has been also flying the Tibetan flag in the municipality every March 10 for a number of years. The Mayor, later, hosted a
cocktail reception at the Town Hall for the invitees. Besides the dedication, a week-long Tibet related events are being organised in
Pau and other regions of the Pyranees as a part of the year of Tibet in France.