MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Several hundred people, some carrying the Tibetan flag, marched in downtown Minneapolis Monday morning to mark the 55th anniversary of National Uprising Day in Tibet.

On this day in 1959, thousands of Tibetans spontaneously gathered to protect His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, and to protest against Chinese Occupation.

Seven days later, the Dalai Lama left Tibet and fled to India. About 80,000 Tibetans followed him into exile.

Kalsang Phuntsok was one of the organizers of today’s event.

“We are seeking human rights and religious freedom, and basically for the Chinese Government to talk to the Dali Lama, and for freedom for Tibet,” Phuntsok said.

Phuntsok says, since 2009, there have been 126 acts of self-immolation all across Tibet, with people burning themselves in order to have the Dalai Lama returned.

“The Chinese government has basically imposed a repressive rule. A lot of Tibetans have no religious freedom,” he said.

There are about 2,500 Tibetans living in Minnesota.

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