The Hague: Around 1,000 people including over 20 Ambassadors from different countries participated in a "Gandhi March" in The Hague, the seat of the Dutch government, to mark the International Day of Non-Violence.
The event held on Sunday was also a precursor to the commencement of celebrations of Mahatma Gandhi's 150th birth anniversary set to be launched by the Indian government on October 2 in India and abroad, the Indian Embassy here said in a statement.
The marchers for non-violence gathered at the iconic Peace Palace - home to the International Court of Justice and the Permanent Court of Arbitration.
The Netherlands Association of Malayalees (Nanma) entertained the gathering with the Chenda Melam (drums of Kerala) and Onam dancers as people gathered, it said.
Ambassador of India to the Netherlands Venu Rajamony welcomed the gathering, followed by brief speeches by spiritual guru from India Sri M, and Deputy Mayor of The Hague Kavita Parbhudayal, the statement said.
A spark taken from the eternal 'World Peace flame' that burns outside the Peace Palace, (created using a flame from the Mahatma Gandhi memorial at Raj Ghat in Delhi) was handed over to Ambassador Venu Rajamony and the rally was led by Ambassadors of the US and South Africa, among others.
Participants wore T-shirts specially designed for the occasion with the logo 'Follow the Mahatma' and a picture of Gandhiji. They also carried posters and shouted slogans advocating non-violence and peace as well as the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi.
The colourful march traversed through the city of the Hague and the participants congregated at the historic Grote Kerk or Big Church here. Multinational cultural performances highlighting the message of non-violence were held along with a special exhibition mounted on a Khadi Scroll (curated by Pramod Kapoor of Roli Books, India). A movie on the life of Gandhiji was also screened.
The 'Follow the Mahatma' campaign was launched by organisations and individuals advocating non-violence in the Netherlands, the Indian community and the Embassy of India in 2017 with the aim of reiterating to the world community the importance of non-violence and peace.