(Minghui.org) As part of this year's World Falun Dafa Day celebrations, about 10,000 practitioners gathered in New York City over the past several days for group exercises, a march and a rally, followed by an experience-sharing conference.

The activities drew broad attention from local residents and tourists alike. Below are comments and impressions from people who watched the various events and shared their thoughts with practitioners.

Falun Dafa practitioners staged a grand march through Manhattan on May 12, 2017.

“We Need These Principles Every Day”

Rebekah Hoyle said she was touched by practitioners' efforts.

Rebekah Hoyle, Executive Assistant of a non-profit organization, said she could feel a sense of peace and warmth as she watched the march, “It is so beautiful and serene. I was almost moved to to tears,” she said. In particular, Ms. Hoyle resonated with Dafa's principles, as she feels that they are meaningful and relevant to each one of us.

“The principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance will change the world,” she remarked.

UPS employee Amarily Funiz agreed. She also said that she liked the colors worn by practitioners in the parade as well as the music of the Tian Guo Marching Band. “I am impressed by the feeling of relaxation and energy here,” she said. “Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance are important because we do need to respect each other, care about each other, and trust each other.”

Rasael, who owns a lighting store, said that Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance should be part of our lives. “We need these principles every day. Although we may not be able to [live by these principles] right now, at least we are heading that way,” she said.

Feedback from Tourists

Barry Hutchinson from the UK had not seen activities like this before and was delighted to see the practitioners. He said that such events are necessary for the public to learn about what is going on in China.

Mr. Chen from Beijing said he was glad to see people from so many countries and diverse backgrounds practicing Falun Dafa. “Back in China, I have met many practitioners and they are very nice people. Too bad they are mistreated for their belief.” He said that recently several lawyers who represented jailed practitioners had been arrested. “I think the Chinese Communist Party will be finished soon, because this tragedy has been going on for too long.”

Mr. Jiang, who watched the march with his wife and child, took many pictures. He had heard that many people in China had learned about the bad deeds committed by the Party and decided to separate themselves from the regime. “All three of us have quit the communist organizations,” Mr. Jiang said proudly.

Times Square

Group practice by Falun Dafa practitioners in Times Square in New York City.

European practitioners gathered in Times Square on May 13 for group meditation. The scene of so many practitioners exercising peacefully in a light rain and the gentle exercises attracted many people. Among them was King Shilongo, an actor, musician, and singer.

“I saw the march yesterday and I know it is a self-improvement system based on meditation,” he commented. After watching the exercises for a while, he said, “This looks very good. I think I will do this one day, at least give it a try.” He said the inner peace displayed in these practitioners is needed by people in modern society.

Bernard Silva, an immigrant from Brazil, has lived in the U.S. for 35 years. He works in public relations. Mr. Silva praised Falun Dafa practitioners for their belief, commenting that it is something that benefits the entire society. He said that communism has no future in society, “Even Cuba as opened its doors. All of us need to abandon communism because it should not have existed in the first place.”

Marie-Christine Robert, an actress from France, said she agrees with the principles of Falun Dafa.

Marie-Christine Robert, an actress from France, said she was happy to see practitioners in busy and noisy Manhattan, “I like the yellow color worn by practitioners because it represents peace and light, something that comforts your soul,” she remarked.

She also agrees with the principles of Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance. Ms. Robert affirmed, “These principles will benefit each of us as individuals and society in general.”

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