(Minghui.org) It was the 16th time that Falun Dafa practitioners in Melbourne returned to the annual spectacular Bendigo Easter Parade, held this year on March 27. They were warmly applauded and cheered by local residents and tourists from around the world, who had packed both sides of the streets along the parade route.

The Falun Dafa procession featured two beautifully decorated floats, the Divine Land Marching Band composed of Falun Dafa practitioners, a team of practitioners demonstrating the Falun Dafa exercises, a graceful group of fan dancers, and joyous waist drummers.

A lotus flower float featuring two practitioners demonstrating the Falun Dafa meditation exercise.

Divine Land Marching Band

Practitioners demonstrating the Falun Dafa exercises, led by a model of the book Zhuan Falun, the main text of Dafa

A colorful float with a golden lotus seat

A boy reads about the Falun Dafa exercises in a flyer.

Citizen of the Year: 'Really Remarkable'

Mr. Robert J. Cook, philanthropist and entrepreneur, elected 2012 Citizen of the Year in Bendigo

Seventy-year-old Mr. Cook praised the performances of the Falun Dafa contingent. “Amazing! Fantastic! The colors are bright! Really remarkable!” he said. He said he had heard about Falun Dafa before, and said that it is wrong for the Chinese regime to persecute practitioners in China for their faith.

Bendigo Residents Praise Falun Dafa

Ms. Cheryl Hodgers, Bendigo resident

Ms. Cheryl Hodgers moved to Bendigo three years ago, and it was the first time she had watched the parade. It was also the first time she had heard about Falun Dafa. She was deeply impressed by the brilliant colors of the practitioners' lineup.

Learning of the persecution of Falun Dafa in China, she sighed, “It's unbelievable, and it's a shame.”

Ms. Elka Budge, preschool teacher

Ms. Elka Budge said she enjoyed the positive energy emitted from the marching band. She said she agrees with Falun Dafa's principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. “Everyone should abide by them,” she said.

Retired teacher Ms. Kaye Trimble and her granddaughter

“Their costumes are elegant,” said Ms. Kaye Trimble. “They make them look graceful and amazing!”

Ms. Corinna Boldiston, reporter

Ms. Boldiston from the neighboring town of Shepparton, came to watch the parade with eleven of her family members and friends. She said that she enjoyed the majestic music performed by the Divine Land Marching Band, and remarked that they must have put much effort into the rehearsal to perform so well.