Parents of missing kids, Maddy, Yeremi, unite
22 June 2007, LISBON - The parents of Madeleine McCann on Friday released 50 helium-filled balloons over a beach in southern Portugal near where their 4-year-old daughter went missing 50 days earlier.
22 June 2007
LISBON - The parents of Madeleine McCann on Friday released 50 helium-filled balloons over a beach in southern Portugal near where their 4-year-old daughter went missing 50 days earlier.
The yellow-and-green ballons drifted out to sea as locals and tourists applauded, Portuguese television pictures showed.
The event, one of 300 reportedly scheduled to take place around the world, was part of the McCanns' effort to draw attention to child abuse.
Madeleine vanished on May 3 from a hotel in Praia da Luz, a resort town in Portugal's Algarve region. Her parents left her and her 2-year-old twin siblings alone in their hotel room while they dined at a nearby restaurant.
Gerry McCann, Madeleine's father, said balloons were to be launched the same day from almost 300 places around the world to focus attention on the plight of missing or abducted children.
In Madrid, children released more than 300 balloons. Organizers said 50 of the balloons represented the number of days since Madeleine disappeared, and 154 symbolized the number of days since a seven-year-old Spanish boy, Yeremi Vargas, disappeared from Spain's Canary Islands. The rest of the balloons were meant to symbolize missing children around the world.
Gerry McCann wrote on his campaign Website blog that 50 white doves were to be released in Ventura, California, while in Afghanistan kite racing was planned.
"Child abuse is a taboo subject still in many countries and we must encourage responsible debate around how child abuse can be prevented," he wrote.
Meanwhile, Portuguese police said they were checking reported sightings of Madeleine in Malta. However, they warned that they have followed up dozens of leads but none has yielded results.
Gerry McCann said he met Thursday with local police to receive the latest official information on the search.
"Their committment to (finding) Madeleine matches ours and we all hope for that vital breakthrough every day," he said.
The couple have said they do not plan to return to Britain without their daughter.
[Copyright AP with Expatica]
Subject: Spanish news