Human rights activists rallied in New York City Friday night in support of election protesters in Iran, saying they would keep up international pressure on the Tehran government for as long as necessary.
More than 300 activists and opposition supporters, many sporting green bracelets, scarves and headbands and holding green ballons, gathered at the edge of New York's Central Park during a heavy rain storm. Larry Cox, of Amnesty International, one of the rally organizers, said they were there to show their solidarity with the people of Iran. "We are going to stand in solidarity with those people now and for as long as it takes for them to win the fight for freedom and dignity and human rights," he said.
He urged the Iranian government to listen to "the courageous voices of their own people."
Shala, a woman in her 40s, who stood defiantly under an umbrella, urged the world to take action to stop further violence against protesters in her motherland. "This is not about politics anymore, everyone knows that. It is about human beings. They are slaughtered every second in my country and nobody is doing anything!," she said.
Hadi Ghaemi, director of the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, told the rally the time has come for accountability. "For too many years, the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran has gotten away with impunity," he said.
But the majority of the people in the crowd were there to feel a connection with their friends and relatives in Iran, like this woman, who did not want to give her name. "I am here to feel united with the people who are being killed in my country. To share the sorrow that they are having by losing their children, and the tolerance they are assuming all these 30 years that I have been outside of Iran. I would like to tell them that I am with them and I think of them and I am as upset as they are," she said.
The street demonstrations that initially took place nearly every day in Iran following the disputed election have largely subsided due to a heavy police presence. But the demonstrators in New York said they would continue holding rallies for as long as necessary.