On October 8th, 2006, Falun Gong practitioners from northern California were invited to participate in the 138th Columbus Day Parade in San Francisco. The practitioners received a warm welcome from the sponsor and spectators throughout the parade. Don Casper, member of the parade organisation committee, said that the performance of Falun Gong's Divine Land Marching Band was superb and that every parade in San Francisco should invite Falun Gong to participate. "Falun Gong is an indispensable group."
|Falun Gong practitioners are in robust health and full of youthful vigour||Member of the parade organisation committee says that the performance of Falun Gong's "Divine Land Marching Band is superb! Falun Gong is an indispensable group."|
|Clarifying the truth in various ways|
|People in over 80 countries practise Falun Gong|
The parade had 130 entries. The procession set off from the famous Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco, marching along almost the entire length of Columbus Boulevard, and then wound its way down the major streets between Chinatown and Italian City finally reaching Washington Park, the central park in Italian City. The entire route was 1.5 miles long. The sponsor estimated there were about 400, 000 spectators.
The weather was fine and warm that day in San Francisco. Falun Gong practitioners' contingent was led by the Western US Divine Land Marching Band. They performed "Falun Dafa is Good," "America the Beautiful," and other selections. Behind them were a float and exercise demonstration group, and a Sword Dance performance by young practitioners from the Minghui School. Some spectators on the way followed the music played by the marching band and danced to the rhythmic beat. Some called out their approval, and some applauded. Some people learned to do the movements with the practitioners. Some people who already knew the facts said, "Stop the persecution of Falun Gong."
When the practitioners' contingent passed by the main stage, the sponsor of the parade said, "Falun Gong practitioners have taken part in the Columbus Day Parade for the fifth year. Their group is unique and becomes better year by year. We forever welcome their participation in our parade!"
Don Casper, member of the parade organisation committee, said that the performance of Falun Gong's Divine Land Marching Band was superb! "They have strong discipline, march in step, and the music is beautiful. Every parade in San Francisco should invite Falun Gong to participate. Falun Gong is an indispensable group."
The police chief said that the Falun Gong contingent was the shining point of the entire parade, full of colour and harmony and peace.
To spectators watched the practitioners' performances and exclaimed, "Terrific, Fantastic!" When they learned that the Chinese Commerce General, influenced by the Chinese Communist Party, refused to let Falun Gong participate in San Francisco's New Year's Parade, they were indignant. They said that no matter what a person's belief is, every group should be allowed to take part in the parade and that Falun Gong should participate in next year's New Year's Parade. If there were still any obstacles, they said they would write to their congressman to make sure that practitioners can participate in the parade.
Some tourists took photos with practitioners' contingent in the background. Two tourists from Mexico said that they had received Falun Gong materials and would read them to their friends.
Some audience members watched the Divine Land Marching Band practice before the parade started. One of the spectators, Joseph Pedigrew, said that he felt practitioners' performance was great and their rhythm was very strong. When they played, they had fully focused on the effect of each note.
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