On January 24, 2004, I was standing around the midsection of Champs Elysees waiting for the New Year's parade to pass by. I was in the company of my Chinese relatives who are live in Paris and whom I hadn't seen for almost six years.

Just around 2 p.m., three or four plainclothes policemen approached me and demanded that I take off my yellow scarf bearing the words "Falun Dafa." When asked what the reason was for this unusual demand, their reply was something along the lines of "today Falun Gong is forbidden in the area around Champs Elysees" and they warned me to take it off or I would be in trouble.

When I asked the reason why I should take it off they would not give any answer except that "Falun Gong was forbidden today." They also didn't want to tell their names or any other information that could reveal their identity. The policeman that seemed to be in charge was very short tempered and basically ignored my questions and would only talk to his men, treating me as if I wasn't even there. After a short while and another warning to take off my scarf I was told that "now it is too late," and I was consequently taken away by four or five uniformed policemen who had been sent for.

For about four hours from that point on I was kept under surveillance in various cars and buses. Throughout the ordeal the police never asked me whether I needed to go to the bathroom or needed a glass of water. I was not told who was responsible or what was going to happen when taken to the various locations of detention and as before the police would not identify themselves.

After having been detained for about two hours in one van I was transferred to a bus. It was at this time that I encountered two Falun Gong practitioners from Germany who had also been arrested. After another transfer, where we were marched through the city heavily guarded by the police, and we were detained in yet another bus. This one seemed to be especially designated as a place to detain people. The police referred to it as the "police station."

Two Falun Gong practitioners, one of whom was from Taiwan, were already there. A French Caucasian, who had been arrested for displaying a pro-Tibet flag, was also there. He told us that he had met another person who was neither a Falun Gong practitioner nor pro-Tibet, and who had been arrested merely for wearing yellow clothing.

At some point this person started to complain to the police in a loud voice about his unfair treatment and received an apology from the police. All Falun Gong practitioners did not complain and also did not receive any apologies.

We were all released at 6 p.m. One of the other practitioners was missing a scarf that had been confiscated by the police, but none of the police were willing to help her get it back.

Marco Hsu
Practitioner from Denmark

Additional notes:

Through conversations with the police I learned the following:

The police officers at Champs Elysees that day were a special unit from the city of Rouen [150 km. from Paris]. They had been stationed in Paris for two weeks and were to go back on the evening of January 24. It was a 150 man unit belonging to the Police National CRS [Company Republique Security]. I believe they were riot police.