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Laura Seitz, Deseret News
Tsering Choeden wears shackles and a gag over his mouth to symbolize the lack of freedom of speech in Tibet while marching with the Utah Tibetan Association in Salt Lake City on Saturday, March 10, 2012.

SALT LAKE CITY — Carrying banners and flags while proclaiming anthems and songs, dozens marched on downtown sidewalks Saturday, protesting the prolonged Chinese occupation of Tibet.

Saturday marked the 52nd year since the fateful 1959 Tibetan uprising, when deadly revolts broke out in the nation's capital. The failure of the armed rebellion ultimately resulted in a violent crackdown on Tibetan independence movements, and the flight of the Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso into exile. Fighting continued for nearly a decade and is now commemorated annually by some, on March 10 — officially Tibetan Uprising Day.

Tibetans in Utah, along with friends and supporters, gather each year to peacefully protest the ongoing turmoil in their native land. The event is organized by the Utah Tibetan Association, a local non-profit organization.

In addition to the protest, participants vow not to eat for part of the day and they close the evening with a candlelight vigil and educational program.