London to Brussels Stage of the Global SOS Walk Begins with a Positive Sign

The two practitioners, from the U.K., who are walking from London to Brussels handed in a letter addressed to the Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street, London, which is the Prime Minister's official residence. As they were standing on the steps of the residence having their photograph taken, Mrs Cherie Blair, the Prime Minister's wife arrived. As she got out of the car, she commented that she had seen the practitioners' "colleagues" outside as she had been driven in. In fact, she had seen the practitioners with their various banners including the one saying -- "SOS: Urgent! Rescue Falun Gong Practitioners Persecuted in China." She had nodded and smiled upon seeing this message on the banner. One of the walkers explained to Mrs Blair why they were there and the other walker handed her a SOS leaflet together with the special petition flyer designed for the walk. She readily accepted the materials and thanked them. The police officers guarding the Prime Minister's residence were also very impressed by the mission of the SOS walkers and wished them good luck.

Earlier that afternoon, the pre-walk activities had begun with exercises and sending forth righteous thoughts opposite the Chinese Embassy. A group of practitioners accompanied the SOS walkers along the march through London. They passed through London's Oxford Street, which is a very busy shopping area. Some teenagers saw the practitioners and wanted to help by offering to carry the banners. They accompanied the practitioners for part of the way.
The walk also passed through Chinatown where both materials in Chinese and English were distributed. Throughout the walk, practitioners not only distributed materials but also took the time to explain the reasons for the SOS Walk. Many people responded positively expressing their good wishes.

London has a council body called the Greater London Assembly (GLA) headed by the London Mayor. The walkers, accompanied by other practitioners, went to the headquarters of the GLA to deliver a letter to the Mayor. His secretary came to meet the practitioners and accepted the letter on the Mayor's behalf. She apologized that he was not able to accept it personally. The practitioners explained the purpose of the SOS Walk and told her of some UK victims of the persecution including the case of a small child made stateless due to the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China. She said that she would ensure that the Mayor received the information.

A press statement was also issued to mark the beginning of the SOS Walk, of which, the following is an excerpt:
"The journey symbolizes the courageous, determined efforts of thousands who have demonstrated in China, and is an appeal for the immediate release of all in China who are jailed and imperiled for their practice of Falun Gong. The journey, crossing three countries, also symbolizes how this fundamental issue of humanity transcends all cultural, geographical and racial boundaries. When innocent people are persecuted so viciously simply for their belief in Truthfulness, Compassion, Forbearance, this is not an issue to be constrained by notions of culture, race and country - it is about protecting those values, which makes us members of the human race. It is hoped that politicians and people of Europe will be encouraged by the walk to unite in their support of Falun Gong and condemnation of the persecution."

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