New York: Over 8,000 Falun Dafa Practitioners Hold Grand Parade in Manhattan
(Minghui.org) Over 8,000 Falun Dafa practitioners from more than 50 countries held a grand rally and parade in Manhattan, New York on Friday, May 14, 2015 to celebrate the 23rd anniversary of the public introduction of Falun Dafa (also known as Falun Gong). They also exposed the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) brutal persecution of Falun Dafa practitioners in China and called for the disintegration of the Party.
The parade stepped off at 12 p.m. from the UN's Dag Hammarskjold Plaza and ended in front of the Chinese Embassy on 42nd Street, winding through downtown Manhattan for nearly three hours. Spectators and passers-by, including UN and other government employees, business people, shoppers and tourists, stopped to take in the parade. Many had words of praise for Falun Dafa and expressed their support for the efforts to end the persecution.
The parade was organized into three major themes: Falun Dafa Is Great; Stop the Persecution of Falun Dafa; and Support the 200 million Chinese People Quitting the CCP and its Affiliated Organizations. Practitioners handed out flyers to spectators along the parade route.
Fred, a social worker, remarked, “I saw this parade last year. This year, even more people are participating. It is so moving! The colorful procession and traditional outfits are beautiful. I agree with their principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. I know about the brutal persecution in China. I wish that the media in the US would speak out for Falun Dafa.”
“This is a beautiful parade, delivering a message about attaining freedom for Falun Dafa practitioners who are persecuted in China. Such events let more people know what is happening in China and encourage more people to join the efforts to stop the persecution. I wish you success,” said Salma, who works as an interpreter in downtown Manhattan, as she watched the parade.
Marguerita Escobar of the National Benefit Fund, and her colleague saw the parade from their office and came down to watch. After listening to a practitioner talking about Falun Gong and the persecution, they were excited to take a group photo with the practitioner.
“They (practitioners) are so peaceful. I cannot imagine that they're suffering inhuman persecution in China. It's so cruel that the regime carries out live organ harvesting. Life is precious. I will pray for the people being persecuted in China. I will write to President Obama to let him know the facts about Falun Dafa and the persecution in China,” said Marguerita with tears in her eyes after hearing about the brutal persecution in China.
Her colleague Alicia Bowen added, “Striving for freedom is everyone's right. These good people must be protected.”
Quite a few people from this company came down to the street to watch the parade, chatting with each other about the parade and its message.
“We're returning to Britain this afternoon. We are so fortunate to see such a beautiful parade and hear such important information. We'll find out more after going back home and see what we can do to help the practitioners in China,” said Wendy, who is visiting New York from Britain.
“Such a peaceful group of people. I don't understand why the Communist Party fears such a peaceful group and persecutes them,” remarked her companion.
Chinese Spectator: Falun Dafa Is Great!
Mr. Wu from Shanghai has lived in New York for nearly 30 years. He made a special trip to come watch the parade. He said, “Falun Dafa is great. So many people from so many countries practice it. I know that Falun Dafa practitioners are good people. They offer free teaching in community libraries. They just want to be good and healthy people. What is wrong with that? The CCP's persecution is cruel and inhuman.”
Among the spectators was a woman who'd arrived from Beijing just three days before. She said to the reporter, with a little nervousness, “It is great to be here. Falun Dafa practitioners have freedom. There cannot be such a parade in Beijing. I am happy to see such a big parade, as I have just been here three days.”
Two sisters from Henan Province, China, were visiting New York together. They accepted a copy of Minghui Weekly from a practitioner. The younger sister said, “The Falun Dafa lineup is magnificent! A practitioner in China helped us quit the CCP with an alias.”