Organizers of the St. Patrick’s Day festival in Shanghai have vowed to continue with the events that are being permitted to take place, after authorities banned their annual parade amid security concerns earlier this week.
The Le Chéile group organizes the parade and other events each year for Irish expatriates living in Shanghai. The organization issued a statement on Monday encouraging people to come and join in with “An Féile Beag,” a downsized event which has replaced the cancelled parade.
“An Féile Beag” will be held in Shanghai Center Plaza and is will feature a six meter tall Finn McCool; a giant dragon; Irish wolfhounds and various other activities.
The 2011 parade had been scheduled to march down the Nanjing Donglu shopping precinct this coming Saturday, but officials withdrew permission as they said the parade route runs too close to Peace Square, the recent site of protests.
Ireland’s consul general, Conor O’Riordan, said organizers were informed they could continue with the planned parade if they chose a less sensitive route. However, the Le Chéile group declined as they could not find an alternative route in short notice.
Around 2,000 people had been expected to attend the parade in Shanghai, and €60,000 in sponsorship had been raised.