With prayer and a mock funeral procession, an international Christian group demanding an end to religious persecution in North Korea delivered a petition with 52,000 signatures to the hermit kingdom's embassy in a leafy London suburb.

As pallbearers carried a fake black coffin emblazoned with the words one day there will be freedom, members of Release International prayed in front of the building.

People say it won't make one bit of difference but every small action has a reaction, said Natasha Hill, 31, one of more than dozen protestors who travelled to the West London neighbourhood of Gunnersbury on Friday.

If you look at the Arab Spring, it's a combination of small things that ended up making all the difference.

But true to North Korea's reclusive reputation, the semi-detached house on a quiet street corner had its curtains closed and embassy staff were out of view as Release International's chief executive Andy Dipper left the petition in front of closed gates.

We are also delivering this petition to Downing Street later today and I'm asking (Prime Minister) David Cameron to take up the matter personally, said Dipper.

Release International conceded there was no way of estimating how many Christians live in North Korea but Dipper said the country was amongst the worst offenders when it comes to persecuting Christians.

One of the striking aspects of the small protest -- other than its incongruous location -- was the lack of North Korean faces amongst the protestors.

They sometimes come along to our (North Korea focused) events but they knew there was going to be press here and they were terrified of staying outside the North Korean embassy and being identified, Dipper added.

In December, the death of Kim Jong-il, who ruled with an iron fist for 17 years, thrust the international spotlight on North Korea as his untested son Kim Jong-un became leader while still in his late 20s.

But as Friday's protest finished, not everyone was hoping the current crop of diplomats leaves the London embassy.

They are very quiet, professional and perfectly civilised, said an elderly British resident whose home adjoins the embassy.

They are the best neighbours you could wish for, especially in terms of security.

(Editing by Steve Addison)