Four days of hunger strikes and demonstrations against the Iranian government
began on Wednesday in New York, outside the United Nations. The protests are
directed against authorities in Tehran, following last month's disputed
presidential election and the street violence that followed.
Hundreds of protesters turned out to state their opposition to Iranian President
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Tehran's violent crackdown against demonstrators
following the election.
One of the organizers in New York, Mani Shirazi, says freedom of expression is
one of their priorities.
"All political prisoners in Iran must be released," said Mani Shirazi.
Mir Hossein Mousavi, one of the opposition leaders defeated by Mr. Ahamadinejad
in the disputed election, says that the Iranian president is causing domestic
and international problems for the country.
The leaders of the demonstration in New York say the Iranian leadership is
violating the country's commitments to international human rights treaties and
The demonstration has drawn activists from across the United States. Essie
Mohaddess came from Sacramento, California.
"It will bring international attention to the events in Iran," said Essie
Mohaddess. "It will bring international attention to the brutality of the
paramilitaries of the Revolutionary Guard. I am hoping the Secretary-General of
the U.N. will appoint a group to go to Iran and to investigate the issues, to
investigate the tortures, investigate the killing and imprisonment of people
without any charges."
Protest organizers say there will be rallies in some 50 cities around the world
on Saturday to protest the situation in Iran.
Kamran Talattof is an Iranian affairs expert at the University of Arizona.
"I hope we will be able to send a message, a clear message that you have to stop
suppressing people, that you have to stop killing innocent people on the streets
of Iran," said Kamran Talattof. "We are tired of this 30 years of suppression of
freedom of expression and democracy in Iran. There has to be an end to this."
Since the contested elections in Iran on June 12, hundreds of thousands of
people have participated in demonstrations around the globe.
In over 60 cities
around the world solidarity rallies are planned in support of civil and
human rights for the Iranian people and for an end to the violence.