Trafalgar Square in the centre of London was the scene for a successful rally on 14 October for the human rights of Falun Gong practitioners in China. It was attended by about 200 Falun Gong practitioners and human rights supporters, and an MP, MEPs, a Lord, a leading academic, councillors and an NGO representative spoke at or sent supporting statements to the rally. Journalists from three UK based media organisations came to the events and interviewed practitioners. After the event a practitioner was interviewed about the march on the BBC World Service radios Chinese service.
The rally followed a march from the Chinese Embassy through some of the busiest streets in London. The march was tranquil and powerful and attracted the attention of large crowds of people, who stood for long times by the roadside, many watching the entire procession. The scene of the parade, the exercises before the parade and the sending forth righteous thought at the completion of the parade was extremely touching, surreal and as one Falun Gong supporter said holy. At times, one seemed to feel that the entire formation of the practitioners was transparent.
The rally started at 3.30pm at the centre of the Trafalgar Square by the Nelsons Column. The Chairman of Falun Gong Association (UK) made an opening address, which exposed the state terrorism of the Chinese authority and called for international pressure for rooting out this evil and for the release of Zhao Ming and other practitioners.
Lord Moyne was the 2nd to speak in support of Falun Gong practitioners. He said that if China does not stop its persecution, it will not be regarded as a civilised country! He also firmly stated that Falun Gong will not fade away because of the suppression of the regime.
John Dee, chairman of European Friends of Falun Gong spoke in condemnation of Chinas persecution and urged people to help to bring an end to the atrocities.
Ms Patsy Calton, who is a member of the UK Parliament send a message of support to the rally. She stated that she was greatly disturbed by the abuses perpetrated by the Chinese government and she supports rights of Falun Gong practitioners in China. She pointed out that people should be allowed to practise their faith or way of life peacefully, without constraint.
Many others also sent their support to the rally. John Bowis OBE, who is a member of the European Parliament (MEP), said in his statement the spirit of Falun Gong members, will not be defeated by the suppression and abuse. Brian Coleman, a councillor of the Greater London Assembly who has sponsored a resolution for Falun Gong human rights passed by the GLA in December 2001, stated I pledge my full and firm support to the Falun gong and its followers. Another GLA councillor Christina Hayes and the President of Hindu Cultural Centre also sent their support for freedom of Falun Gong practitioners. Chris Heaton-Harris MEP stated We have consistently been supportive of Falun Gongs campaign against Communist oppression, and are continuing to monitor the situation and take positive action whenever we can.
David Cooper, Professor of Philosophy stated that Falun Gong promotes no particular religious affiliation and is without any political agenda that could threaten the Chinese system. Nor is Falun Gong in any sense a cult. People are not forced, cajoled or seduced into membership and no pressure is exerted on those who choose to leave the movement.
Following the speeches and statements, practitioners demonstrated the gentle exercise of Falun Gong. The statements and the exercises attracted the large numbers of people who listened and watched attentively and with great fascination. The successful rally finished at 5pm.
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