(Clearwisdom.net) Ten years ago on July 20, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) launched a brutal persecution of Falun Gong practitioners. To expose and help stop the persecution, Falun Gong practitioners in St. Louis, Missouri held a rally in front of the Old Courthouse, a St. Louis landmark, on July 20, 2009.

Report about the rally against the persecution in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

Falun Gong practitioners demonstrated the five sets of exercises and introduced Falun Gong and the background of the CCP's persecution. Representatives of Falun Gong practitioners and local residents gave speeches condemning the persecution.

Proclamation issued by Congressman William Lacy Clay

Congressman William Lacy Clay, representative for the1st Congressional District of Missouri, issued a proclamation to Falun Gong on this special day. The proclamation reads,

"Whereas, July 20, 2009, has been designated as the day that concerned citizens and supporters are rallying together to call for the end of the persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China and

Whereas, marking the 10th anniversary of this persecution, local residents, officials, and civic leaders are joining together in solidarity to support Falun Gong practitioners and to help them promote the quest for freedom and human rights for all; and

Whereas, the highly regarded practice of Falun Gong has provided its followers with valuable teachings and meditative exercises which help guide them in their daily lives;

Now, Therefore, I, William Lacy Clay, do hereby designate July 20, 2009, as the day that the followers of the honored practice of Falun Gong are recognized in the First Congressional District of Missouri for their character, integrity, and courage. I urge all citizens to applaud them as they work very hard to promote freedom and strive to protect the rights and dignity of all."

Congressman Todd Akin

Congressman Todd Akin of the 2nd Congressional District of Missouri sent a letter of support. He said in the letter, "Together we must do all we can to force the Chinese Communists to treat all of their citizens with respect, regardless of religious or philosophical beliefs.

"On June 20, 1999, Chinese police began arresting leaders of the Falun Gong movement. Ten years later, the Chinese continue to persecute those who seek to practice Falun Gong. Free Countries around the world must band together and oppose this persecution, and oppose the oppressive tactics of the Chinese government toward so many of their own citizens. The goal of a government should be to protect the rights of its citizens, not take those rights away. Today, you are standing with the citizens of China, calling on the Communist regime to end their oppressive ways. I commend you for this effort and will work with you to apply pressure to the Chinese government. Thank you for fighting for freedom."

Congresswoman Jeanette Oxford gave a speech at the rally. She expressed the local people's support for Falun Gong, and said she would always stand on the side of Falun Gong and justice.

Passersby listen to Falun Gong practitioner's truth-clarification.

Because of Falun Gong practitioners' years of peaceful efforts to expose and end the persecution, local residents have learned of the benefits of Falun Gong and the brutality of the CCP's persecution. Many cities in the St. Louis Metropolitan Area, including St. Louis, Chesterfield, St. Peters and O' Fallon, issued proclamations to support freedom of belief for Falun Gong.

Passersby expressed their support. Those hadn't heard about the persecution received information from Falun Gong practitioners.

The largest local newspaper, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, ran a photo of the rally with the caption, "Remembering Persecution in China." The article introduced Falun Gong and discussed the ten years of persecution. After the story was published, readers of the newspaper called Falun Gong practitioners to ask where they could learn the exercises.

Candlelight vigil

Falun Gong practitioners held a candlelight vigil in Forest Park in the evening. They mourned their fallen fellow practitioners in China and called for attention and help to stop the brutal persecution of innocent people. Many people stopped by to get information.