(Minghui.org) Falun Gong practitioners in Germany held a rally and march in Munich on October 4, calling for an end to the Chinese Communist Party's persecution. The events coincided with Munich's popular Oktoberfest, giving many tourists and local residents an opportunity to learn about Falun Gong and the Chinese communist regime's ongoing persecution of the practice.

Many signed the petition calling for an end to the persecution, while a number of Chinese tourists renounced their membership in the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its affiliated organizations.

The rally was held at Marienplatz, Munich's historic central square. German Member of Parliament Stephan Pilsinger, Ulrich Delius, chairman of the Society for Threatened Peoples, and Jürgen Thierack, head of the Munich division of the International Society for Human Rights (IGFM) sent letters of support that were read at the rally.

Falun Gong practitioners' rally at Marienplatz, Munich on October 4

Led by the European Divine Land Marching Band, the practitioners marched from Marienplatz, passed by the National Opera House, the Munich Residence (former Royal Palace), Odeonsplatz, and returned to Marienplatz via Maximilianstrasse and Viktualienmarkt.

Falun Gong practitioners march through the busy streets of downtown Munich, Germany.

A passerby chats with a Falun Gong practitioner.

A woman signs the petition against the persecution of Falun Gong, as another passerby reads a Falun Gong flyer.

“We Cannot Just Stand By and Watch”

Sigrun Segmeiyer, a retired procurement manager, was drawn by the Falun Gong exercise music and remarked that the atmosphere was “very peaceful.” She had not heard of Falun Gong before, but wanted to learn more about it.

After hearing about the 19-year persecution of Falun Gong in China, Sigrun signed the petition calling for its end. She was especially disturbed by practitioners being killed as part of the Chinese regime's state-sanctioned organ harvesting. “This shouldn't have happened. We are all people. We have families. We have a responsibility [to end the persecution]; we cannot just stand by and watch,” she said.

Sigrun added that signing the petition was just one small way she could help.

“Truth, Compassion, Forbearance Are Amazing”

Another spectator at the rally, Annette Dachsel, is from an area that used to belong to East Germany. She listened to the rally and said that she was deeply concerned about the persecution.

“Truth, compassion, and forbearance [the guiding principles of Falun Gong] are amazing,” she said. She compared the CCP's mind control to Nazi Germany's “Gleichschaltung” or co-ordination, a Nazi term for the process of establishing a system of totalitarian control and coordination over all aspects of German society. “People cannot have their own opinions; they have to think the same as the CCP wants them to.”

“Falun Gong Practitioners Are Remarkable”

A number of the information boards displayed at the rally were in Chinese, for the benefit of tourists from China. Some people from China took the opportunity to chat with practitioners. Some quit the CCP and its affiliated youth organizations, taking a stand against being unwitting accomplices in the persecution of innocent people in China.

Chinese tourists were among the spectators during the Falun Gong march through downtown Munich.

One woman was on her first trip out of China. She said this was the first time she had ever spoken with a Falun Gong practitioner. “I know that Falun Gong must be very effective in healing and fitness,” she said. Then she added, “I think Falun Gong practitioners are remarkable!”

A Chinese woman who has lived overseas for over a decade approached the practitioners and picked up some informational materials. She also took the initiative to renounce her membership in the CCP using the pseudonym “blue sky.”