Thousands Gather Worldwide In Solidarity With Iranians
From New York to Seoul, Madrid, or Sydney, thousands
of people are taking to the streets on July 25 in a worldwide show of support
for Iranians. Demonstrators in more than 110 cities are demanding that
Iran's government end its clampdown on the opposition and free scores of
activists detained during peaceful postelection protests.
They are also calling on the United Nations to investigate rights abuses against
The group behind the "Global Day of Action" is United For Iran, a loose alliance
of nonpartisan rights organizations and individuals.
United For Iran is backed by some of the world's leading rights organizations as
well as prominent figures such as Iranian Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Shirin
In a video posted on the group's website, another Nobel Peace Prize Laureate,
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, urges people around the world to join today's event.
"Join me in a worldwide rally on July 25 to support and echo the voices of
millions of Iranians who are demanding their civil and human civil rights. The
people of Iran need you," Tutu said.
Hundreds of protesters, journalists, academics, and lawyers have been arrested
since Iran's disputed June 12 presidential vote, which critics say was rigged in
favor of incumbent Mahmud Ahmadinejad.
At least 20 people have been reported killed in the unrest.
The Global Day of Action is part of a larger campaign to express solidarity with
political prisoners and protesters.
On July 22, more than two dozen people went on a three-day hunger strike in
front of the United Nations' headquarters in New York.
Hamid Dabashi, a professor at New York's Columbia University speaking to RFE/RL
from outside the UN at the start of the strike, said, "We have gathered here in
front of the UN in order to bring their cases to the world's attention, for
people to know of these extraordinarily courageous young and old men and women
who have been struggling for freedom in our country for decades."
"They have been arrested, incarcerated, and reports indicate that they have also
been tortured and forced to confess to ludicrous charges of connection to
foreign elements," Dabashi said.
List Of The Prisoners At UN Hunger Strike
photo by Parandeh, Iranian.com
The rallies come amid reports that the son of Abdolhossein Rouholamini, an
adviser to Iran's defeated conservative presidential candidate Mohsen Rezai,
died in a Tehran prison after being detained in postelection unrest.
Also on July 25, Iran's opposition leaders appealed to top clerics to help
secure the release of detainees. In a joint statement, they said they were "very
worried about their physical and mental health."
RFE/RL's Nik Krastev contributed to this report
Copyright (c) 2009 RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org
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