(Clearwisdom.net) Falun Gong practitioners, including young practitioners from the Minghui School, participated in the 16th annual Spring Celebration and Easter Parade held in San Francisco City on April 18. Practitioners also collected signatures calling for an end to the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China and appealing for practitioners to be allowed to participate in the Chinese New Year Grand March Parade next year. (Falun Gong practitioners' entry is refused each year due to pressure exerted by the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco).

Young practitioners from Minghui School demonstrate the Falun Gong exercises on stage

Westerners signed the petition supporting Falun Gong practitioners' participation in the San Francisco Chinese New Year Grand March

Young practitioners performed dances including "Planting Lotus Flowers" and "Sword Dance," for an hour on the stage. The youngest practitioner of three years old was the most popular and won non-stop applause.

Influenced by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the San Francisco Chinese New Year Grand March has blocked Falun Gong practitioners from participating for years. Some practitioners circulated a petition in the audience, calling for Falun Gong to be allowed to participate. They also exposed the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China, and the CCP's extension of the persecution overseas. Many in the audience signed the petition to support practitioners' participation in the Chinese New Year parade.

A family of seven came up to sign the petition. Another westerner asked a practitioner why Falun Gong practitioners wouldn't be allowed in the Chinese New Year Grand March. When he learned the facts, he was very supportive and expressed anger at those who were blocking Falun Gong. The gentleman told the practitioner that there will be a street fair in June, and he hoped that practitioners would come to collect petition signatures there.

During the signature collection, many San Franciscans indicated that they knew about the persecution of Falun Gong in China. Many were also aware of the fact that local Falun Gong practitioners were rejected when applying for a place in the Chinese New Year Parade. They were willing to sign the petition to support our efforts of stopping the extension of the persecution here in San Francisco. They sincerely hoped that Falun Gong practitioners would be able to take part in the Chinese New Year parade next year.