Prague, Oct 17 (CTK) – About 1000 people, some of them carrying Tibetan flags or posters reading Free Tibet, came to Prague’s Hradcany Square to welcome the Tibetan Dalai Lama, who arrived in Prague to attend the 20th Forum 2000, which was founded by former president Vaclav Havel.

In his speech, the Dalai Lama remembered Havel (1936-2011) and he called on people to preserve his legacy, the idea of truth and love.

Though Havel has deceased, his ideas and ideals survive, said the Dalai Lama who was bound by personal friendship with Havel.

In his speech he also pointed out that he was not seeking the separation of Tibet from China, of which Beijing accused him.

The Tibetans are not striving for independence, but they want human rights to be observed in the union with China and the Buddhist tradition of Tibet to be preserved, the Dalai Lama said.

He was welcomed by a long applause which also accompanied his hanging a sash across a poster featuring him together with Havel.

According to the Hlidaci pes server, the Dalai Lama was to originally appear on a platform built next to the statue of the first Czechoslovak president, Tomas Garrique Masaryk, but the Prague Castle Administration did not sanction the occupation of the area without providing any explanation.

The Prague 1 district previously issued an approving stance on the event.

Actress Barbora Hrzanova, who introduced the Dalai Lama, said that during his first visit to Prague at the invitation of Havel in 1990, the Dalai Lama appeared on the balcony of the Archbishop’s Palace and cardinal Frantisek Tomanek stood on his side.

“Today, he is here with us, but without the Cardinal [Dominik Duka],” Hrzanova said.

Mikulas Kroupa, director of the Post Bellum organisation, which participated in the welcome ceremony for the Dalai Lama, criticised President Milos Zeman.

He said his giving priority to economic themes over human rights will lead to that the Czechs will lose their human rights as well.

Zeman promotes economic relations with China to the detriment of an emphasis of human rights.

The Dalai Lama arrived in Prague to attend the 20th Forum 2000 international conference. He attended it in the past on the basis of Havel’s invitation. This year, the Dalai Lama will take part in a few panel debates and give a public lecture at the close of the conference.