Hundreds of Amnesty International supporters walk for human rights

OCEANSIDE — Hundreds gathered at sunset at the Pier Amphitheater for the 23rd annual Amnesty International Walk for Human Rights Oct. 23.
Walkers held handmade signs with names and photos of recent victims of crimes against humanity and held memorial candles as they walked to the end of the pier and back.
Prior to the march guest speakers shared their personal ordeals.
Palden Gyatso spoke about being jailed and tortured in Tibet prison for 33 years after being arrested in the 1959 Tibet uprising.
Other speakers shared their stories of endurance and a brief history of Amnesty International and the impact the organization has made over the last 50 years.
Amnesty International was founded in 1961 by Peter Benenson and six others following the publication of a letter Benenson wrote to the editor of The Observer. In the letter Benenson expressed his anger that two Portuguese students had been imprisoned for toasting to freedom. He asked readers to write letters of support for the students. Amnesty International was formed to coordinate the massive letter writing campaign that quickly spread to a dozen countries.
Each year the Amnesty International walk focuses on a victim of human rights violations. This year the focus is on Sri Lanka journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda who “disappeared” in January 2010. Ekneligoda had criticized the sitting president of Sri Lanka in published cartoons and articles. His disappearance occurred just before the presidential election. Fifteen other people have also “disappeared” within the last few years.
For more information on Amnesty International efforts see amnesty471.org.

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