TIBETANS HALT LI PENG’S CONVOY
Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh
16 January 2001
January 22, 2001: A group of Tibetans managed to spring a surprise on the police when they ran towards the convoy carrying Chinese leader, Mr. Li Peng, near Prakashnagar junction in Hyderabad. The Tibetan protesters holding aloft placards containing slogans demanding the Chinese to leave Tibet were immediately overpowered even as the VVIP convoy slowed down for a while, reported an english language daily The Hindu.
In what is being termed a minor security breach, the five-member group led by Ms. Tenzin Dolma, initially held aloft a banner welcoming the Chinese leader which led the police to believe that they were Chinese and not Tibetans. But, as the convoy emerged, four women and a man sprinted across the road displaying the placard saying, “Free Tibet,” “Save Tibet.” The police officers who were on duty immediately pounced on them as the convoy slowed down.
The group of four girls and one boy reportedly told the the police that they were Chinese students and were there to welcome their leader. They even had a banner welcoming Mr. Li Peng.
In addition to the five Tibetans, the city police also arrested 11 more Tibetans who were spread around trying to wave placards when the convoy passed them. Elsewhere, the police took into custody 69 Tibetans including 36 women when they were moving along the VVIP route. Police said a group of four Tibetans were noticed on the route and were immediately taken into preventive custody. Sensing that more Tibetans could have been moving, special teams fanned out in the area and rounded up other Tibetans who planned to station themselves in small groups along the convoy route. They planned to wave pro-Tibet placards when Mr. Li Peng was to pass them by.
The five were Ms. Kalsang Chodon (18), Ms. Tsering Choezom(19), Ms. Kunchok Dolma, all students of a city college, and Mr. Dhondup in addition to Ms. Tenzin Dolma. After being released the same evening, the students said that they were treated well by the police, though they “would have been happier if they were able to stop the convoy for some more time,” said Kalsang.