Greece: Dafa Practitioners' Athens Parade Attracts Media Attention

On August the 11th 2004, Falun Dafa practitioners held a successful large-scale parade in Athens. When the procession passed through Syntagma Square in the city centre, it attracted attention from locals and visitors, as well as various media including TV, news agencies and radio. About twenty media representatives took photos of the parade team and interviewed practitioners that had come to Athens from all over Europe, as well as Australia and the US.

It was extremely hot in Athens. When our parade team passed through the city's busiest commercial district in the extremely hot weather, passers-by showed their happiness and admiration with applause. They cheered happily and were particularly impressed by practitioners' performance of Chinese drumming, which remained vigorous and energetic in the strong sun. One lady gave praise and said, “It would be great if our Greek parades were as peaceful as theirs.”

The parade of Falun Gong practitioners was the only one permitted and protected by the Greek police during the Olympic Games. The Greek police had been put under pressure by the Chinese consulate for days. On the day the parade took place they received the ‘final request’ from the consulate: cancel the parade and arrest all Falun Gong practitioners participating. However, Greece is not China, and the Greek government had got to know the peaceful community of Falun Gong for a long time. Dutiful Greek police guarded the sanctity of the law, they left after they had ensured the whole activity had finished successfully. The harmonious procession left a deep impression on the police who are used to trouble-stirring crowds of protesters. They remarked that they had never seen such a peaceful team. A policewoman also said that the peace and harmony of the parade were worth a lesson to her own country.

When the parade team finally arrived at the square in front of the parliament building, practitioners began to demonstrate the exercises. Although everyone had been walking in the sun and there were no trees or shelter for them to avoid from the intense heat, many of them felt a cool wind sweeping over them.

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