May has become a special month for Falun Dafa practitioners in Bulgaria in their efforts to tell people about Falun gong and the persecution in China. May sees events in some of the biggest cities in Bulgaria: Bourgass, Sliven, Dobrich, Plovdiv, Stara Zagora, Russe and the capital, Sofia.
Information Day in Burgas
The kick-off event was held in Burgas on May 3 with a Falun Dafa information day. Burgas is the second largest city on the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast and the fourth-largest in Bulgaria with an estimated 200,000 inhabitants.
The practitioners set up their information stand near a flower exhibition that was taking place at the same time in the city centre. Many people from across the city who came to the exhibition had the opportunity to see the practitioners' activities. People were eager to take leaflets explaining the essence of the practice, as well as its ongoing persecution by the communist regime in China since 1999.
A number of people were also intrigued by the Falun Dafa exercise demonstrations held during the entire event. After learning more about the practice, some expressed an interest in coming to the local practice site. Some signed a petition to stop the persecution, while others took copies of Nine Commentaries on the Communist Party and Bloody Harvest, the independent investigative report into the organ harvesting of Falun Gong practitioners in China. Generally, people were stunned to learn about the persecution.
Talking to People about Falun Gong in Sliven
The following day, another Bulgarian city welcomed Falun Dafa for the first time. Sliven is the eighth-largest city in Bulgaria and the administrative and industrial centre of Sliven Province and municipality. It was the Eastern Orthodox Easter Holiday, and people flocked to the main street where, under a 1000-year-old elm tree – the symbol of the city – Falun Gong practitioners made their presentation. People accepted the informational leaflets with great interest and signed a petition to stop the persecution in China. An elderly man who remembered the 45 years of communist rule in Bulgaria, which crumbled in 1989, discussed with practitioners many questions and details related to the persecution and the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
|Falun Gong practitioners demonstrate the exercises on May 4 in Sliven. (photo: Falun Dafa Information Centre Bulgaria)|
Many young people showed an interest in the practice and took advantage of this rare chance to learn the exercises from the practitioners. After learning the facts about the persecution, a young woman encouraged her family to sign the petition. After all the informational materials had been distributed, black clouds suddenly gathered and rain poured down. The old elm tree provided shelter for the practitioners. Some kindhearted people helped the practitioners get to the local the train station, where they boarded a train for home.
World Falun Dafa Day Event in Dobrich
On May 13, practitioners commemorated World Falun Dafa Day with an event in City Park in the town of Dobrich, the ninth most populated city in Bulgaria and the administrative centre of Dobrich Province. It is located in the northeastern part of the country, only 30 km west of the Bulgarian Black Sea Coast and not far from many resorts full of summer vacationers.
Information about the event was published in local news media websites after the Bulgarian Falun Dafa Information Centre sent out a press release regarding the May 13 commemoration. The local Falun Dafa coordinator was interviewed on the national radio station, “Darik,” on May 14. Many residents and tourists received leaflets about the practice and the persecution in China.
One of the most prominent journalists in Dobrich, Ginka Dimitrova, responded to a personal invitation by practitioners to attend the event. She was so impressed that she wanted to learn the exercises then and there.
The practitioners also had a petition appealing to the Bulgarian government to condemn the organ harvesting from living Falun Gong practitioners in China, and the brutal persecution of Falun Gong by the CCP. The petition was supported by representatives of the artistic community in the city.
In a conversation with practitioners during the event, a renowned Bulgarian painter shared his concern about the ongoing persecution in China. He showed a deep knowledge of history and religion and asked, "What is the origin of Falun Dafa and why are Falun Dafa practitioners being persecuted in China?" After practitioners responded with the facts, he expressed his view that the practitioners are persecuted in China mainly because of their strong spirit and faith. He bought the introductory book of the practice, Falun Gong, and said that he also would like to read the main book, Zhuan Falun.
|A student takes a leaflet at the information stand on May 18 in downtown Plovdiv (photo: plovdiv-online.com)|
Five days later, practitioners organized an information activity in the city of Plovdiv, which is the second largest city in Bulgaria with a population of over 300,000. It is the administrative centre of Plovdiv Province.
People of all ages stopped to read the posters and information boards or to take a brochure at the information stand practitioners set up in downtown Plovdiv. A young woman said she once saw the practice in the U.S., where she also signed a petition to stop the persecution. She was surprised to see practitioners in Bulgaria, too.
The activity was reported by the local media.
Two Days of Activities in Sofia
The park in front of the National Theatre "Ivan Vazov" in Sofia again brought Falun Dafa practitioners in Sofia together on May 18 and 19 this year.
The Falun Dafa stand was located in the central part of the town, which is close to many nearby museums and was crowded with people. The practitioners’ event coincided with International Museum Night, when all the museums in Sofia are free.
Practitioners distributed brochures with information about the practice, the history of the repression, and the international response. It was common to see people sitting on nearby benches reading the materials or commenting with friends.
Many stopped to sign the petition calling for the end to the persecution. When the signatures are taken to the appropriate Bulgarian government agencies, the Bulgarian media will be informed by the Falun Dafa Information Centre.
Citizens and guests of the Central Bulgarian city of Stara Zagora were introduced to Falun Dafa for the first time when local practitioners organized information days on May 18 and 19 May in the city centre.
The citizens of the Danube town Rousse had the opportunity to learn about the persecution in China on May 18 and 19 this year. Rousse is the fifth largest city in Bulgaria and is located in the northeastern part of the country on the right bank of the Danube.
During the demonstration of the five exercises, many children became interested and took part. Their parents encouraged them to try the exercises and patiently waited for them to finish.
|Practitioners demonstrate the exercises in front of a group of children on May 18 in Rousse (photo: Information Centre Falun Dafa Bulgaria)|
On the second day in Rousse, practitioners staged a candlelight vigil in memory of the Falun Gong practitioners who have died as a result of the persecution in China.
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