Paris, France: A Peaceful Parade for Urgent Rescue on July 19th
On July 19th, practitioners and supporters of Falun Gong marched through the main streets of Paris and around the Chinese Embassy with the theme, "Three Years of Persecution, Three years of Courage--Yet Three Years Are Too Long!" The sky was blue and pure, the sun was shining and the people dressed in white displayed a noble and solemn attitude in memory of the practitioners persecuted and killed in China.
Support from politicians
Around 100 French politicians who had expressed their support to Falun Gong during the three years of persecution were invited to attend the event. Some came to walk with the practitioners; those who were not able to come called or wrote letters to express their renewed support to the cause. Their messages were echoed during the opening and concluding speeches of the march. The famous French politician, Alain Madelin, the president of the national Liberal Democracy party had his assistant call us to express his support, as well as the deputy-mayor of Grenoble, among others. The Green Party sent a representative walk with us and give a speech in firm support of our cause.
The media came, too
International and French media agencies came to film the march and interview practitioners and supporters of Falun Gong. Some practitioners took advantage of the event to reveal to them that the so-called "self-immolation" was staged by Jiang, that it is one of the most scandalous affairs of the persecution and that the Chinese regime is afraid of having the truth revealed.
One of the journalists was delighted to see that at the end of the walk, on the high square overlooking the Eiffel Tower, there was a collective practice of the exercises. I saw him run to film the scene.
The support of the French people
A woman who lived by the road came out to look at the cort ge. She remembered seeing last year's 20th July march and enjoying the music. Interviewed by the media, who were checking the impressions of those witnessing the march, she expressed her undivided support to the cause of Falun Gong and said that she was moved by the women dressed in white who carried the pictures of those killed in China under the persecution.
At seeing the procession, people would come on their own to get truth clarifying brochures. Others would stop on their way to read the banners. An elderly lady who is not a practitioner, but a supporter of Falun Gong, came to walk with us although she is over 80. The neighbors of a practitioner, the whole family, came to join us, too. A young man who is not a practitioner drove several hundreds kilometers to come to Paris and attend the event.
A Chinese journalist and political refugee in France carried a lotus flower a practitioner had given him. It moved me to tears to see that he held it with both hands as something very precious.
Under the protection of the police
In China, the police are ordered to shoot practitioners; in France, they come to protect them when they hold activities. What a sharp contrast. If was funny to see some of them yawning, so relaxed they were and convinced that nothing bad would come from us. During the walk they were on watch to protect us from the cars. Some would take the time to discuss at leisure with practitioners in order to understand the nature of Falun Gong.