Yesterday, Saturday, October 23rd, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) members around the world along with the wider community came together to raise awareness and to demand protection and justice from the Bangladesh government for the religious minorities that are suffering atrocities and violence including attacks on temples, homes, property, and people.
#globalkirtanprotest, Times Square, New York City, USA
More than 100 ISKCON-organized events took place across the globe and thousands participated in this momentous international event of participants peacefully chanting while holding signs pleading for protection and justice for minority groups, including all Hindus, in Bangladesh. National media covered many of the events, such as the Times of India and CBC. Members of ISKCON, the wider Hindu community, and other supporters came out to protest the attacks currently occurring in Bangladesh.
“The fact that thousands of devotees and friends turned out for these kirtan protests around the world shows how important religious freedom and the protection of minorities is for ISKCON. We pray the Bangladeshi government hears our calls for help by stepping up to protect their minorities and bring the perpetrators of the recent attacks to justice,” said Anuttama dasa, ISKCON’s Minister of Communications.
#globalkirtanprotest, Sydney, Australia
The Global Kirtan Protest began yesterday in Australia and New Zealand with devotees marching down major streets chanting the maha-mantra—Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare; Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare. Protests and rallies continued around the globe through Asia, Africa, Europe, and ended in North America.
#globalkirtanprotest, Mayapur, India with Jayapataka Swami
Demonstrations and candlelight vigils took place in India including in Bangalore, Vrindavan, Ahmedabad, Pune, Kolkata, Dehradun, Mayapur, Goa, and Delhi. Dignitaries and special guests including Jayapataka Swami spoke how minorities in Bangladesh are living in perpetual fear and need protection and advocacy. Due to Covid-restrictions in India, most of the protests were under 100 people with only a few having around 300 participants. The biggest event was a joint event held in Siliguri (with other Hindu groups) and at ISKCON’s headquarters in Mayapur.
#globalkirtanprotest, Delhi, India
And protests did not stop there. Places like Buenos Aires, Argentina; Durban, South Africa; Maitighar, Nepal; and Mauritius all gathered in unity to protest for justice.
#globalkirtanprotest, Durban, South Africa
In the United States, ISKCON teamed up with the wider Hindu community and chanted in front of significant landmarks. For example, in New York, the devotees chanted in Times Square, and in Washington, D.C., chanting took place in front of the White House. From East to West, ISKCON US temples including those in Dallas, New Vrindavan, Naperville, Sacramento, and Philadelphia were actively participating.
#iskconglobalprotest Sacramento, California, USA
In Canada, peaceful protests took place from coast to coast, from Vancouver and Winnipeg to Montreal and Halifax. In Canada’s capital, Ottawa, devotees chanted in front of the Parliament Building, and in Toronto, over 500 devotees and community members came together in front of Old City Hall.
#globalkirtanprotest Toronto, Canada
Europe was also an epicenter for numerous kirtan protest events from Finland to Italy. In London, England over 500 devotees and supporters gathered, chanted, and danced on both sides of the street in front of the Bangladesh High Commission.
#globalkirtanprotest Florence, Italy
ISKCON hopes that these Global Kirtan Protest events will help persuade the Bangladesh government to vigorously prosecute and punish the criminals behind the recent attacks, to end the violence against minorities, and to bring peace for all citizens no matter their religious beliefs or practices.
#globalkirtanprotest, Kolkata, India
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Sunanda Das, Temple of the Vedic Planetarium
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Janatari Devi Dasi