At 5.30am this morning me and other members of the 'Students for a Free Tibet' group headed into the centre of Edinburgh in the wet weather to publicise the Tibetan cause at a demo outside the Sheraton Hotel. Inside the hotel various delegates involved in the G8 process stayed. Outside the hotel there was a massive police presence, with the police easily outnumbering the protesters. The early start, the rain and the fact that a lot of campaigners had chosen to head directly to Gleneagles rather than stay in Edinburgh meant the turn out was quite low.
Many of the protesters who were there seemed to be anti-G8 camapiagners. Our objective however was focused on awareness and action related to the Tibet campaign- to promote this undeniably important cause to both other demonstators present and those politicians involved in the G8. The message on the banner was "Don't Forget Tibet".
The gravity of the main issues on the G8 agenda is of course immense and the fact that there is now such a focus on the issues of climate change, poverty and trade is, I think, extremely positive. However to re-iterate my point from an earlier blog, the seemingly smaller issue of Tibet should be addressed at the summit, linked as it is to all three of the main issues. China currently contains 16 of the world's 20 most polluted cities (The Independent- 5th June 2005). Vast numbers of Tibetan refugees live in dire poverty within neighbouring countries. Ex-political prisoners released from brutal Chinese prisons are unable to work and support themsleves, as they are stigmatised and discriminated against by some Chinese authorities and individuals. China is well known for its abomniable use of sweat shops which make goods to be sold here in the U.K and other rich countries. Yet human right issues (which includes enviromental issues, detrimental as climate change is to humanity) are rarely taken into consideration as the western world and China's trade relations blossom. For these reasons and many more we rasied the message "Don't Forget Tibet" this morning.