Protests and Candlelight Vigils in Austria, Italy, Finland, Russia and Romania Commemorate the April 25 Appeal
(Minghui.org) April 25, 1999, is a significant date for China and Falun Gong practitioners. On that day, approximately 10,000 Falun Gong practitioners traveled to Beijing to appeal to the communist regime's leadership after practitioners in Tianjin were illegally arrested for their belief.
The practitioners in Tianjin were released following the peaceful appeal, but three months later on July 20, 1999, then head of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Jiang Zemin launched a nationwide persecution campaign against Falun Gong practitioners that continues to this day.
To commemorate the April 25 appeal, Falun Gong practitioners around the world hold events and raise awareness of the persecution, including the state-sanctioned killing of imprisoned practitioners for organs.
Falun Gong practitioners held a candlelight vigil on Stephansplatz in Vienna, Austria, to raise awareness of the persecution in China on April 25, 2019.
Practitioners do the Falun Gong exercises on Stephansplatz in Vienna, Austria, on April 25, 2019.Candlelight vigil on Stephansplatz in Vienna, Austria, on April 25, 2019.Passersby sign a petition against the persecution.
It was a sunny evening in Vienna, and many pedestrians passed through the area as practitioners did the Falun Gong exercises surrounded by a number of eye-catching banners. Many people stopped and signed a petition calling for an end to the persecution of Falun Gong in China.
Falun Gong practitioners in Milan held events in front of the Chinese Embassy, at scenic sites, and in Milan's Chinatown on April 25, 27 and 28, 2019. Their events caught the attention of locals and tourists, and many people signed a petition opposing the persecution in China.
An Italian lady followed along with the practitioners' movements as they performed an exercise demonstration. She took a flyer after hearing that more information about the practice could be obtained from the Falun Gong website.
Practitioners held a sit-in protest in front of the Chinese Embassy in Helsinki, Finland, on April 24, 2019. Helsinki Daily later featured the event.
Some practitioners went to Kamppi shopping center in downtown Helsinki on the afternoon of April 24 to participate in a candlelight vigil.
Lisa was appalled when she read the words “live organ harvesting.” She told practitioners: “Such a thing cannot occur. People have the right to freedom of speech and the right to freedom of belief. They cannot be arrested and persecuted because of different ideas.”
Nicola is a designer from New Zealand who has lived in Finland for five years. When she saw the Falun Gong practitioners, she went straight to the table and signed their petition.
She said that she had learned about Falun Gong and the persecution while she was living in New Zealand. She had once heard about a Falun Gong practitioner who was tortured in China for her belief.
On April 25, 2019, practitioners in Moscow started a single-person protest relay in front of the Chinese Embassy from 10 am to 10 pm. They held exhibition boards and stood firmly at the entrance of the Chinese embassy, demanding that the CCP immediately stop the persecution of Falun Gong.
Candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese Embassy in Moscow on April 25, 2019.Passersby look at a practitioner's poster.Practitioners meditate in front of the Chinese Embassy in Moscow on April 25, 2019.
Many people expressed support for Falun Gong practitioners. Others wanted to learn more about Falun Gong and asked practitioners for contact information for local practice sites. Many people said they wanted to go to the park to learn the exercises.
Practitioners also explained their event to police officers, who were shocked to hear of the CCP's brutality. An embassy staff member asked the police to stop the practitioners' protest, but an officer said, “They have the right to stand here.”
Practitioners in Bucharest, Romania set up banners and posters across the fences around the Chinese Embassy on April 25, 2019. Some demonstrated the exercises while others distributed flyers and spoke with people about the persecution in China.
Traffic jams outside the embassy bought traffic to a halt. Many drivers were happy to open their windows to accept flyers from practitioners. Several drivers gave the practitioners thumbs-up for their perseverance against the CCP’s persecution. Some pedestrians also stopped to learn about the persecution and expressed their hope that practitioners would succeed in countering the persecution.