The European Tian Guo Marching Band and practitioners paraded in Athens on October 6 and 7 to tell people about Falun Dafa and the persecution in China. Two parades were held each day, and Chrysogelos Nikos, a former Member of the European Parliament (MEP), attended the event on October 7 to show his support.
The capital of Greece, Athens is a world-renowned historic city and the eighth largest city in Europe. With a history of over 3,000 years, it’s the economic, financial, industrial, and cultural center of Greece. Home to ancient sages such as Socrates and Herodotus, Athens is often referred as the cradle of Western Civilization and is considered the birthplace of democracy.
Led by the Tian Guo Marching Band, the parades also featured sections highlighting “Falun Dafa is good” and “Exposing the Persecution” in China. Starting from Kotzia Square, they marched through Syntagma Square and Ermou Street as well as Monastiraki Square and Thiseio Street. The first parade ended at the Acropolis Museum and the other three ended at the Holocaust Memorial in Athens.
When the processions arrived at popular tourist attractions, shopping streets, or squares, they stopped briefly to explain the reason for their parade to residents and tourists and told them about the ongoing suppression in China. Practitioner Ding Lebin from Germany participated in the parades and called on people to help rescue his father and more than 70 practitioners who were detained this May in Rizhao City, Shandong Province.
Many people applauded the Tian Guo Marching Band and the dragon dance. Some signed the petition calling for an end to the atrocities in China.
Former MEP Chrysogelos Nikos said he’d read many reports about Falun Dafa and attended numerous forums. He said all these activities were peaceful and aimed to improve people’s lives. However, such peaceful efforts were being brutally suppressed by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).
He pointed out that this is especially the case with the CCP’s state-sanctioned organ harvesting, which violates all logic in removing practitioners’ organs while they are still alive. People should be clear that we cannot accept such crimes in the 21st century, that the mission of a doctor is to save lives not to kill people.
While he said it was understandable that some people want to make more money, there is a bottom line. Nikos encouraged practitioners to continue their efforts and thinks the situation will change.
Admiration for Practitioners’ Courage
Christos and his wife listened to the Tian Guo Marching Band perform. His wife had her photo taken in front of the banner that said, “Falun Dafa Is Good.” She said she respected practitioners for their courage and perseverance. Even though they faced ruthless persecution, they remained positive and brought inspiring music to communities. She asked for the contact information for the nearest practice site and said she planned to learn the exercises.
A practitioner explained that Falun Dafa’s principles represent the essence of traditional Chinese culture. But the CCP destroyed these traditional values by suppressing them for decades. Christos agreed. He thanked practitioners for their efforts and said we should not forget about these traditions. He thinks that, as more people join their efforts, the situation will change.
Police Thank Practitioners
Four police officers on duty at the Acropolis Museum watched the procession and heard the Tian Guo Marching Band perform. They accepted flyers and handmade lotus flowers with “Truthfulness-Compassion-Forbearance Is Good” and, “Falun Dafa Is Good” written on them.
The officers were shocked to hear how badly practitioners were mistreated in China for their belief. “This is horrible! It’s hard to imagine!” one exclaimed as he read a flyer. A practitioner told him Falun Dafa is practiced in over 100 countries and that practitioners around the world organize events like this to call for an end to the tragedy. The officer thanked practitioners for their efforts and wished them well.
Telling More People
Two women from the U.K. were happy to see the Tian Guo Marching Band and took flyers. When one of them saw a photo of a candlelight vigil during which practitioners mourned those who were persecuted to death, the woman was in tears and asked, “Is this real? It’s terrible!”
A practitioner told them that many practitioners in China were detained and tortured for their belief, and some had their organs harvested. The woman said she would look up the information on the internet. She also wished practitioners success.
Monastiraki Square is one of the best-known tourist attractions in Athens. Located close to the Acropolis, its stores and flea markets attract many people. When practitioners arrived there at noon on October 7, another group was already holding an event. After the host read a Falun Dafa flyer, he was moved and used his microphone to read the flyer to his audience.
Kostas works for a telecommunication company located in Monastiraki Square. After watching the Tian Guo Marching Band perform, he asked a practitioner for a stack of flyers and some lotus flowers, and he distributed them to passersby.
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