Protesters gathered in dozens of cities across the world Saturday as part of a global day of action to spotlight, what the demonstrators say, are Iran's human and civil rights abuses. The organizers of the event, United4Iran, are calling for the release of what they say are hundreds of opposition activists arrested following the country's controversial election in June.
About 200 people gathered along a sidewalk opposite the Iranian embassy in London, chanting, waving green flags, and showing support for Iranians seeking democracy.
Drewery Dyke works with Amnesty International, one of the organizations that helped sponsor the day's event. He says the point of these protests is to show support for the people of Iran. "Events all over the world, they're not going to change what's happening on in Iran on a day-to-day basis, they just won't. What it will do, and what it does count as being very important, at least for us as Amnesty International, is the act of solidarity," he said.
The protesters are calling for Iranian authorities to end their crackdown on citizens who claim the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was fraudulent.
Many of the protesters in London were originally from Iran. And Several wore masks and sunglasses so as not to imperil family members back home.
One woman, who would only give her name as Sara, said she does not believe her vote for the opposition candidate would have dramatically changed Iran, but that it was more important for her to know her vote was counted. "There is a long, long process for democracy in Iran, but it was the first step to see that who voted for him [opposition candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi] as a basic level of democracy was going to happen," he said.
A man named Kian said he wanted all Iranians to be allowed the freedom of expression and assembly. "We just want to support the human rights for everyone. It doesn't matter what they believe in, doesn't matter what their background is, human rights for everybody in Iran," he said.
The organizers say they want the following: the release of all political prisoners, for the U.N. Secretary General to investigate allegations of torture and abuse in Iran's prisons, and an end to state-sponsored violence.