(Clearwisdom.net) At 4:30 p.m. on January 30, 2002, The Washington International Students chapter of Amnesty International organized a rally on Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C. to condemn the persecution of Falun Gong in China. This was the first time in the D.C. area that an outside group organized a pro-Falun Gong event. Many students from the school as well as Falun Gong practitioners attended the event.

A representative from Amnesty International explained that the majority of the participants were students of Washington International High School. Their class on human rights and persecution focused on the atrocities committed during the Jiang regime's persecution of Falun Gong. When they learned that President Bush would visit China next month, they started to prepare the large-scale appeal activity.

The event began at 4:30 p.m. The students' concern and effort was evident in placards they made emblazoned with powerful statements such as "China: Stop the Torture" and "Suppression: Unacceptable," as well as a large map of China displaying the names of all confirmed dead Falun Gong practitioners. The students set up a mock black fence to demonstrate the criminal actions of Jiang's regime in imprisoning Falun Gong practitioners. The students' rallying cry for human rights, "What do we want? Tolerance! Where do we want it? China! When do we want it? Now!" "Appeal for whom, Falun Gong. Appeal to whom, China. End the persecution, now!" "Everybody comes to appeal, stop persecuting Falun Gong!" attracted the interest of passersby and rush-hour commuters, many of whom asked questions about the event or honked their car horns in support. The students appealed to President Bush and the Jiang regime to bring an immediate end to the persecution.

The Falun Gong practitioners, in contrast, stood quietly beside them, appealing peacefully as usual with banners reading "Falun Dafa is good" etc. The students invited a practitioner to make a speech. The rally also included remarks from a survivor of torture, Munawar, who described its devastating effects on an individual. The students also performed a self-written play about Falun Gong practitioners being tortured to death by the thugs of Jiang's regime. The students also presented red bracelets with the words "January 30, 2002, Freedom Plaza" to the Falun Gong practitioners attending the activity.

At 5:30 p.m., a candlelight vigil began. The courage of the American youths fighting for righteousness and freedom moved many people on the square. A 14-year-old girl said, "I fight for human rights. I don't think there are people who support persecution. I hope people speak out for justice." She then smiled with confidence. 17-year-old Jacob Erickson said, "I hope people pay attention to the persecution of Falun Gong in China and give more effort to improve the human rights situation in today's world as soon as possible!"

The activity ended at 6:00 p.m., with students embracing each other to affirm their righteous actions. They did not want to leave right away and stayed to talk with the serene practitioners to gather more information on Falun Gong and the brutal persecution in China. They expressed their heartfelt desire to do more to help.