Tibetans in Auckland and Friends of Tibet members despite being small in number were at Mount Albert’s Plant and Food Research at 11 in the morning ready for Premier Li Qiang’s engagement of the day to begin. They braved verbal and physical harassment from Chinese supporters who arrived by bus loads and were even approached with offers of money to hoist Chinese flags and banners. Tibet activists were shoved, pushed out of the way and stalked relentlessly at the protest site by the much larger pro-China group trying to tear down the Tibetan banners. Amidst the chaos and heavy rain some Tibetans were also physically assaulted. NZ police personnel on duty failed to keep the two groups apart. Yet, the Tibetan flag flew high as the Premier’s entourage arrived on site. 

Not one to be deterred, Tibetans and Friends of Tibet, NZ along with members of Chinese-Tibetan Friendship Group turned up at Cordis Hotel in Auckland Central at 4 pm. Our demands were read and slogans calling for human rights and freedom inside Tibet reverberated through the street until a group of Chinese drummers parked themselves next to the Tibetans, aggressively beating their drums and cymbals, drowning out the demonstrators. A police officer was whacked in the face by a supporter waving her Chinese flag aggressively next to the protestors and given a stern warning.

Tibetans and supporters then made their way towards the final event at Auckland War Memorial Museum where Premier Li Qiang and dignitaries were having an official dinner. Amidst a vast sea of red flags and banners, pro-Tibet slogans reverberated as the dignitaries stood for a photo-op on the Museum stairs. 

Photos can be found on the ATA Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/share/p/rKDnKfbcye4ugQ7w/