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SALT LAKE CITY -- Supporters gathered in Salt Lake City Wednesday to advocate for a free Tibet, hoping to raise awareness of the oppression in Tibet even with Utah's government leaders.
Tibetans describe their situation today as "dire." They claim the Chinese government denies the Tibetan people their basic human rights and freedoms.
The gathering in Salt Lake City is symbolic, commemorating the many lives lost fighting for freedom.
Protester Sam Chagzoetsang said, "Thousands of Tibetan lives are lost, and we gather to pay tribute to those who sacrificed their lives."
The nonviolent struggle for freedom, led by the Dalai Lama has become a symbol for peace and human rights the world over. But leaders in Beijing call the Nobel Peace Prize winner a separatist who incites violence.
Decades after the Chinese invasion, hundreds of Chinese paramilitary troops still patrol the streets of Tibetan cities. And the Tibetan people are asking the world for help.
Tenzin Guialtsen called for concerned citizens to "pressure Chinese government and let them know that the world cares about the Tibetan people and they want the Tibetan people to have freedom."
In March 2008, protests for freedom erupted throughout Tibet. As a result, thousands were imprisoned, tortured and killed.
The Dalai Lama recently met with President Obama to raise awareness in America about the struggle and the fight for freedom that Tibetans face.
The Tibetan people hope that one day, their message will make a difference.