St Albans man deported after pro-Tibet Olympics protest

PUBLISHED: 15:53 15 August 2008 | UPDATED: 13:31 06 May 2010

The 'Free Tibet' banner hanging from the Chinese TV centre

The 'Free Tibet' banner hanging from the Chinese TV centre

A CLIMBER from St Albans who was detained in Beijing and deported from China earlier today after unfurling a Free Tibet banner in front of China s state television s new headquarters, will be arriving home this evening. Phil Kirk, aged 24, who is believe

Phil Kirk

A CLIMBER from St Albans who was detained in Beijing and deported from China earlier today after unfurling a Free Tibet banner in front of China's state television's new headquarters, will be arriving home this evening.

Phil Kirk, aged 24, who is believed to work for the outdoor-equipment shop Cotswold Camping in Victoria Street, and four other pro-Tibet activists hung the 375 square foot banner, which read 'Free Tibet' in English and Chinese, over an Olympics billboard at 5.45am Beijing time. Chinese security officials gathered quickly outside the building and after around 30 minutes detained the five protesters. All five have since been deported from China.

In a statement released by the organisation Students for a Free Tibet of which Mr Kirk is a member, he said: "While the Chinese government has honed its public relations strategy and constructed a shiny new building for its official mouthpiece, it is relying on the same old propaganda to defend its brutal occupation of Tibet.

"We are here in Beijing today to shine the Olympic spotlight on China's ongoing military crackdown inside Tibet and to support the Tibetan people's struggle for truth, justice and freedom."

Kirk will be met at the airport by friends, supporters, and members of the Tibetan community.

Students for a Free Tibet has staged six protests in Beijing over the last ten days. Thirty-one members and supporters have been detained and deported, in addition those detained today.

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