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Photos: Cyclists depart from Toronto to New York to Protest Against Ahmadinejad

Source: Salam Toronto

Dr Moridi along with Solidarity with Iran and other citizens bidding farewell to CHRI cyclists

Cyclists depart from Toronto to United Nations headquarters in New York to protest against Ahmadi Nejad`s presence at UN`s General Assembly.

Iranians in Toronto along with concerned citizens of the non-Iranian communities once again gathered to show their solidarity and support for the Iranian people under arrest, pressure and torture.

On impending Ahmadinejad trip to New York City where he will attend the sixty- fourth general assembly of the United Nations, Iranians gathered to express their repugnance towards the recent repression of Iranians seeking freedom and democracy.

Solidarity with Iran, established in Toronto as a result of the recent arrests and injustice, hosted a rally last Saturday, September 19th at Hart House, University of Toronto, where a few talks were given before the departure of the cyclists to New York City.

Binesh and Anna, from Iran and Singapore, are among the cyclists of the 800 km journey from Toronto to NYC

In this rally, Dr. Reza Moridi, MPP from Richmond Hill, compared dictatorships with democracies where the first is predestined to perish sooner or later as a result of its own nature and in the latter, change of governors does not affect the whole system and the service given to the citizens. He encouraged Iranians' unity and perseverance and expressed his assurance of triumph for those searching for liberty.

In July 2009, a number of students, academics and concerned citizens, started a group called Cycling for Human Rights in Iran, CHRI. They biked 450 kilometers from Toronto to Ottawa to pass a petition started by Amnesty International and signed by more than four thousand individuals of different backgrounds addressing the government of Iran to respect the rights of its own citizens.

Their trip ended successfully at the Embassy where they were welcomed, and finally just a few days ago, the Embassy informed them that the message will be passed along to Iranian authorities.

By Ahmadinejad's participation in the United Nations' general assembly, he will be attending a meeting where the heads of all other countries will be present, yet many Iranians insist that he is not their president and that he was not elected by the vote of the majority. In order to show their opposition, they will gather in front of the UN headquarters on Sep 23rd and 24th.

CHRI's cyclists supported by Amnesty International, will also bike more than 800 kilometers from Toronto to New York City to join the protestors. Bus trips have been organized to New York by 'Solidarity with Iran' to support this movement.

One of the other spokespeople at the rally was Gloria from Amnesty International. She expressed their solidarity and support with the cyclists and their aim: "We are really pleased with the ride they did in July from Toronto to Ottawa. It was quite amazing that after arriving in Ottawa, they were able to meet directly with the Embassy officers and the attaché. The Embassy later informed us that they have sent the petition over to Iran. It's amazing to see so many new faces standing up for human rights in Iran. We wish the cyclists the very best and will follow them every inch of the way and will pursue what happens to New York as well."

CHRI departs from Toronto to United Nations headquarters in New York City

Some of the cyclists gave short speeches:

- The long ride to New York is not unlike the hard road of Iranian people to equity and freedom. This journey is a metaphor of the way a nation takes to pursue liberty and a prosperous future out of a dark way.
- We, free people, will not be stopped by them [Iranian authorities], but in fact it will be the other way around. We will stop them.
- If not us, then who? If not now, then when?
- Anna from Singapore said: We will cycle a few hundred miles to New York City to also express all your solidarity and support for Iranian people.

The letter signed by a number of academics from all around the world with different nationalities and different attitudes was read at the rally:

Academics Concerned about the Assaults in Iranian Universities

We, the undersigned academics and administrator of universities around the world express our deep concern about the deteriorating situation of universities in Iran, particularly in the aftermath of the recent Presidential elections. All signs indicate that the authorities are engaged in a major crackdown on Iranian universities and intend to impose yet more infringements on academic freedoms.

We have reasons to believe that faculty and students are in grave danger. Student dormitories have been attacked, and several faculty members including the former president of Tehran University, Dr. Mohammad Maleki have been imprisoned. Fear is looming on Iranian campuses that a new cultural revolution is being planned which will have disastrous consequences similar to the first one that took place in the spring of 1980. Such a move will purge thousands of professors and students who stand in opposition to the regime's repressive politics, and further deplete Iranian universities of academic standards and scholarly pursuits.

There are calls for the "revision of the Humanities and Social Sciences" under the auspices of clerics; departments are forced to issue fake degrees to unqualified individuals linked to influential authorities; our colleagues are harassed by a multitude of security and intelligence units operating on campuses, and students continue to be subjective to a repressive system of black-listing, receiving "star" points for their social activities, leading to their expulsion.

We strongly condemn the political interference in academia, and demand that assaults against the sanctity of country's universities, faculty and students be stopped immediately and unconditionally.

Dr Moridi, MPP from Richmond Hill


- The International Campaign for Human Rights in Toronto
- Solidarity with Iran (Toronto)
- Multiple Voices for Change
- Solidarity with Iran (Vancouver)


- Professor Payam Akhavan, Professor of Law at McGill University
- Professor Ronald Deibert, Director of the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto
- Professor Amir Hassanpour, Associate Professor at the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations at the University of Toronto
- Professor Ramin Jahanbegloo, Professor of Political Science at the University of Toronto
- Professor Haideh Moghissi, Associate Dean at York University
- Professor Saeed Rahnema, Professor of Political Science at York University

Gloria from Amnesty International encouraged people to sign the petition for human rights in Iran


Jubeen, the main organizer of the Toronto-NYC journey


Neda on of the martyrs of post-election unrests in Iran has become a symbol of the Green Movement


Protestors holding anti Ahmadinejad placards, and Neda's posters


Ribbon cut, cyclists are ready to go!


Ahmadinejad is not my President!

... Payvand News - 09/24/09 ... --

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