Hundreds of protesters march at the University of Washington today during the Dalai Lama's visit to Seattle.
Several hundred protesters chanted and sang, marching from the University of Washington’s Red Square to Hec Edmundson Pavilion today in the biggest demonstration here yet against the Dalai Lama’s five-day Seattle tour.
A plane also flew overhead trailing a banner that read: “Dalai: ur smiles charm, ur actions harm.”
Once outside Hec Ed, the protesters showed violent images from Tibet on a large-screen TV, chanted through bullhorns and sang songs in Mandarin, including one that protesters translated as “My Chinese heart,” saying that their hearts still belong to China even though they are far from home.
UW Police moved barricades to accommodate more protesters as their numbers swelled beyond the anticipated 200.
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“I’d say there are 400, maybe a little more,” said Ray Wittmier, UW interim police chief. “They have been cooperative and working with us, and doing exactly what they said. We have asked them to turn off the amplified sound as soon as the event starts.”
Protester Shufu Xe, a systems analyst at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, said the Dalai Lama’s message has been distorted by the Western media.
“I like some of his ideas about nonviolence. But I think he is behind some of the violence in Tibet,” Xe said. “I don’t like that he’s using the Olympics to promote his political agenda.”
Xe, like many of the protesters, was born in China. He moved to the U.S. seven years ago.
Students lining up outside Hec Ed to see the Dalai Lama watched as protesters marched past. Sophomore Sydney Dale, 20, said she was surprised at the extent of the protest.
“I thought maybe there would be a few students,” she said. “I didn’t expect it to be so outlandish, with the chanting and yelling and the bullhorns.”
Dale said she was excited to see the Dalai Lama and figured she may never get another chance.