More than 400 demonstrators in downtown Minneapolis, chanting “Free Tibet” and “Long live the Dalai Lama!” joined thousands across the world on Thursday to mark Tibetan National Uprising Day.

The Twin Cities group gathered over the noon hour at the Hennepin County Government Center.

Uprising Day commemorates the date in 1959 when thousands of defiant Tibetans, fearing that occupying Chinese forces were planning to kidnap the Dalai Lama, surrounded the Potala Palace in the capital city of Lhasa to protect their spiritual leader. The Dalai Lama later fled to India and set up a government-in-exile.

Since then, Tibetans worldwide gather in a show of solidarity with those still in Tibet. Similar demonstrations were also planned Thursday in other cities around the world, according to organizers.