In the historic gold-mining town of Bendigo, Victoria, Easter is the largest holiday after Christmas. During the four-day Easter weekend, practitioners organised a series of activities including a "Truthfulness Compassion Tolerance International Art Show", "Petals of Peace", and participated in the Easter Parade to clarify the truth and bring the beauty of Falun Dafa to the local people. Most of the practitioners came from Melbourne, some 150 km away.
|People of Bendigo Australia like Falun Gong's colourful processions.|
|A two-year-old Falun Gong practitioner shakes hands with an spectator.|
|Ms. Heleon's family came to Bendigo to watch the grand parade|
On Friday, practitioners demonstrated the exercises and passed out fliers around their booth. They also taught children to make paper lotus flowers. Lotus flowers grow from the mud but are not affected by their surroundings. They represent persistence and purity.
The practitioners told people about the persecution of Falun Gong in China, exposing the Chinese Communist Party's crime of organ harvesting from live Falun Gong practitioners as well as the establishment of the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (CIPFG).
Many people signed their names to a petition demanding an end to the persecution and said they would tell their friends and relatives about the CCP atrocities.
Easter Sunday evening, about 50,000 people watched a candlelight parade. Practitioners marched with lanterns and lotus flowers. As the Falun Gong parade entry passed, many spectators waved in greeting.
Another parade was held on Easter Monday. It was the largest event of the weekend. Practitioners have come from Melbourne to participate in it now for six years, and have won top prizes for their entries. Many people have come to learn about and appreciate Falun Gong as a result.
This year, the Falun Gong entry comprises over 70 practitioners led by three young girls holding large Chinese characters "Zhen, Shan, Ren" (Truthfulness Compassion Tolerance). A waist drum group followed, and then a Tang Dynasty-theme dance group. Ribbon dancing and fan dancing was next, and then an exercise demonstration and a float decorated with lotus flowers. "Falun Dafa is great" music played in the background.
The parade route is 5 kilometres long. Along the streets, people cheered for Falun Dafa and applauded. From time to time, you can hear people chanted "Falun Dafa, it is great!" and others said, "You are so beautiful. You're better than last year." A two-year-old little practitioner was moved by the warmth of the people and walked out of the procession to shake hands with spectators.
Ms. Heleon is from Kyneton. Her family came to Bendigo to watch the grand parade. She said she had heard about Falun Gong being persecuted in China in newspapers and on TV. Today, she saw Falun Gong in the parade and felt Falun Gong group was very peaceful and harmonious.
The "Truthfulness Compassion Tolerance International Art Show" was held in the hallway of the Campbell theatre for three days. This is the third time the show was held in Bendigo. Each time, many people came to see the paintings, many of whom were moved by the artworks. Practitioners told visitors the stories and meanings behind the paintings, helping them to understand Falun Gong as well as the cruelty of the persecution.
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