Local Tibetans and supporters of their resistance movement are holding demonstrations in the Bay Area today, including a march in San Francisco, to commemorate the 51st anniversary of the Tibetan uprising against Chinese occupation.

Earlier today, a group of supporters gathered at Berkeley City Hall for the raising of the Tibetan national flag, which is banned by the Chinese government, according to Tenzin Shakya, spokeswoman for the San Francisco regional chapter of the Tibetan Youth Congress.

Berkeley Vice Mayor Linda Maio attended the flag raising, as well as Jing Zhao, former president of Humanitarian China, and Tenzin Gyurmey, vice president of the local chapter of the Tibetan Youth Congress.

Many supporters then traveled to San Francisco for a rally at Justin Herman Plaza and a march along Market Street toward City Hall.

After an 11:30 a.m. rally at City Hall, which Supervisor Chris Daly was expected to attend, the march was scheduled to continue to the Chinese Consulate on Laguna Street for a 1:30 p.m. rally. The day of action will close with a 5 p.m. candlelight vigil at Union Square.

Yangchen Lhamo, spokeswoman for the group Students for a Free Tibet, said event organizers expected at least 300 people to take part in the march and rallies.

Today is the 51st anniversary of a 1959 uprising against Chinese occupation in the country and, Lhamo said, “it is a day to really remember the spirit of resistance of the Tibetan people and take pride in our identity.”

More than a thousand Tibetan refugees from India, Nepal and Tibet now live in the Bay Area, primarily in the East Bay and in San Francisco, according to Shakya.

Along with raising awareness of the plight of Tibetans, Shakya said she hopes today’s events will help spur action by the U.S. government.

“We really want to pressure the U.S. government to work to not only try to support, but to have concrete actions that have good effects on the Tibetan people,” she said.

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