-Filed by Office of Tibet, London-
London: Local Tibetans and supporters alike, numbering more than 80, gathered in the foreground of Waltham Forest Town Hall of East London this morning as the Tibetan national flag was raised for the first time in the history of this London Borough.
The Mayor, Councillor Sally Littlejohn; Leader of Waltham Forest Council Clare Coghill; local Councillor Kastriot Berberi and few officials of the Council were present as the Tibet flag was raised on the flag pole outside the grand Town Hall.
The flag-raising ceremony was held to mark the remarkable success of the democratic process adopted by the Tibetans, for the past almost six decades, after it was gifted to them by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in the 1960s.
The host for the event, local Councillor Kastriot Berberi, welcomed everyone to the flag-raising ceremony and briefly spoke about how the event shaped up to this present day beginning with the discussions he held with local Tibetans over the past few months.
The Mayor, Councillor Sally Littlejohn expressed her happiness to see so many Tibetans present for the ceremony and wished them all on the occasion of Tibetan Democracy Day.
The Leader of Waltham Forest Council, Clare Coghill, shared in the happiness of The Mayor and spoke of her delight at seeing many beautiful Tibetan girls and women dressed in their traditional attire for the occasion. She shared the wonderful news that Waltham Forest has been awarded the first London Borough of Culture in 2019. She pointed out the richness and diversity of the Borough and cited the example of Tibetans and their culture, which she hoped will add to the celebrations.
Speaking on behalf of all the Tibetans present, the Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama for the UK, Northern Europe, Baltic States and Poland Mr Chonpel Tsering firstly thanked The Mayor, Councillor Sally Littlejohn; Leader of Waltham Forest Council Clare Coghill; local Councillor Kastriot Berberi and others involved for hosting the event. Recollecting the journey of Tibetan democracy in exile, Mr Tsering mentioned how the Tibetans have been fortunate to have been blessed with a visionary leader such as His Holiness the Great 14th Dalai Lama, who introduced democracy to Tibetans. He remarked how the Tibetans across the world marked the 58th Tibetan Democracy Day yesterday.
The series of address was followed by vibrant cultural performances by Tibetan youths in Britain. Their performances grabbed everyone’s attention.
The Tibetan National Flag was raised slowly accompanied by the singing of the Tibetan national anthem. It was historic as well as an emotional moment especially for all the Tibetans present.
The Mayor then invited everyone inside to the Council Chamber for another round of formal ceremony. Inside the chamber, the chairman of Tibetan Community in Briatin (and also a local resident) Mr Pempa Lobsang, thanked The Mayor, Councillor Sally Littlejohn; Leader of Waltham Forest Council Clare Coghill; local Councillor Kastriot Berberi for making this historic flag-raising ceremony a reality and a success. He expressed his hope for this to be an annual event with the continued support of the council.