SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS/SFGate/BCN) -- A woman who was hanging off the roof of the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco during a protest Wednesday morning fell about 15 feet when according to protestors the lines to her harness were cut.
The woman was one of a number of protesters associated with the group Students for a Free Tibet, who were protesting the Beijing Olympics as the games approach because of what they call China's brutal human rights record.
Nyendak Wangden, an experienced climber who was wearing a monk's robe and had suspended herself in a “hanging” position for the protest, fell onto a landing area and was transported down a fire truck's ladder on a stretcher around 9 a.m. She is now recovering from a fractured wrist and a finger.
When protestors saw Wangden fall, they shouted that someone had “cut the rope.” According to the San Francisco Chronicle, witnesses reported a "loud shriek and thud," followed by a scream from another protestor who was assisting Wangden on the roof.
Three others who had chained themselves to the front of the building were also detained, police Sgt. Wilfred Williams said.Police have not confirmed that the rope was cut, but the state department has now taken jurisdiction over the case.
Students for a Free Tibet spokeswoman Yangchen Lhamo said two or three consular officials were on the roof and had been arguing with the climbers just before the woman fell, but Williams said he could not confirm that.
Students for a Free Tibet is the same group that organized a climb on the Golden Gate Bridge in April in which three protesters scaled the bridge's cables and secured a sign to the bridge that read, "One World, One Dream: Free Tibet 08."
Lhamo said today's protest marks the start of many protests nationwide that aim to show China that "people with freedom of speech will do everything to express outreach for the struggle they're facing."
The woman who fell today was not badly hurt and had been willing to take risks for the cause, she said. "We're just glad she did not sustain serious injuries," she said.
Meanwhile, in San Jose, throngs of protestors held a rally outside the Santa Clara County administration building decrying alleged human rights abuses by the Chinese Communist Party.
Posters of battered Falun Gong members hung behind the podium as the protesters asked for help in changing the way the Chinese government treats its citizens.
The protest comes two days before the kickoff of the Olympic games but the event was also held in recognition of a resolution by the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, who dubbed August "Human Rights for the People of China Month," according to organizers.
Tiananmen Square protester Feng Chongde, Supervisor Pete McHugh and other human rights activists spoke.