Walk for Tibet, from D.C. to New York, passes through Harford

Drivers along Route 1 in Harford County on Wednesday may have seen a trio of men walking on the side of the road, proudly waving an American flag and a Tibetan flag.

They were part of a group of five, one of whom said he is a nephew of the Dalai Lama, that had left Washington, D.C., on Sunday to walk to New York, 228 miles away, in support of the movement to free Tibet from Chinese rule.

The annual walk has been led by Kunga Norbu, of Bloomington, Ind., the relative of the Tibetan spiritual leader. This year, the march was dedicated to his brother, Jigme Norbu, who was killed by a vehicle during a walk in Florida two years ago.

"We are standing for our country in 1959, and March 10 is the day that we are uprising," Norbu said, referring to the year Tibet lost its independence after China successfully crushed a rebellion.

On Route 1, just south of Route 152 in Fallston, Norbu was in a car along with Tai Nguyen, while three others, who identified themselves as Rabten Gyatso, Lobga and Ghargye, walked with flags. The three said they are natives Tibet who live in Washington, D.C., New York and Ohio.

A pamphlet given out by the group explains that Thubten Norbu, Jigme's father, "dedicated his life to raising awareness of Tibet."

He is shown along with his son holding the Tibetan Freedom Torch.

Tibet, an area north of the Himalayas in central Asia, has gained attention for an independence movement, largely led by those living outside the region, since the 1960s.

The 14th Dalai Lama went into exile in India in 1959.

The marchers Wednesday were protesting "the Chinese Government's policy of population transfer of ethnic Chinese into Tibet, making Tibetans minority in their own country" and a lack of human rights in Tibet, including arbitrary arrests, according to their pamphlet.

Gyatso also said, through a translation by Norbu: "In 54 years nothing has happened, and basically we are asking for a free Tibet."

Norbu added: "We are just small, but we are a very powerful group."

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