Monday, 3 December 2001 - Switzerland
by Stéphanie Pythoud
Demonstration: Falun Gong practitioners gathered at Fribourg for a silent march through the town, after which information and demonstrations of the exercises were given at Python Square.
Yesterday morning saw a gentle and peaceful march across Fribourg. Between 10.30 and 11.30 a.m., around 60 practitioners of Falun Gong (traditional Chinese method of (physical) exercises) filed through the streets of the town. Holding flags (banners), a smile on their lips, they marched peacefully, under the questioning gaze of passers-by. They delivered their message with an Asian calm: Truth, Compassion, Tolerance. Thanks to a few shared words and flyers distributed during the march, they drew some people with them to their destination - Georges-Python Square.
Throughout the afternoon Falun Gong practitioners from all parts of Switzerland demonstrated the exercises that are characteristic of this Chinese approach. Over coffee, cakes and Chinese treats, they answered the questions of curious inquirers, displayed information notice boards and played a video.
The Swiss Falun Gong Association thus hopes to inform as many people as possible about the Chinese method and, in so doing, support millions of oppressed practitioners in China. “For our first Falun Gong national day we chose Fribourg, as the town has already, on several occasions, given us its support”, explained Kye Ja Lee, a practitioner from Geneva. But the Swiss Falun Gong Association envisages this day as the first of many such occasions. “We are going to ask the Swiss authorities to decree an official day of Truth, Compassion, Tolerance”, the Association said.
The four Swiss who demonstrated - with 30 other Westerners -at Tiananmen Square (La Liberté, 21 November) were also present yesterday, to bear witness to the atrocities suffered by Falun Gong practitioners in China. For a moment or two, one felt the weight of their heartfelt stories in the air. “The police were ordered to treat us with kid gloves on but, even so, some of us were wounded”, said Victor Fernandez, asking himself how they would have been treated if the police had not received these orders.
“Let the repression stop” demands Falun Gong.
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