Demonstrators are holding peaceful rallies in cities across the world to express their concern over the disputed results of last Friday's presidential election in Iran, in which the government declared incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the victor. A rally was held in New York's Union Square Park in show of support for Iran's opposition.
Demonstrators converged on New York's Union Square Park Wednesday night to show their solidarity with Iranians who have taken to their own streets for the last few days to protest the outcome of Friday's vote. Iranian officials say President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad overwhelmingly beat out three challengers, including his nearest rival, reformist candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi.
The call for Wednesday's rally in New York went out over the Internet. Organizer Amid Amidi, 28, said he put out the call through social networking sites Facebook and Twitter. Some 300 people responded. He said this grassroots movement wants to send the message to the Iranian people that they support them in their struggle.
"The unelected leaders of that country have failed over and over again in fulfilling their obligations to the citizens of that country," Amidi said. "They are out there now fighting for democracy and reform, and I just want to say that people here in New York hear you. We hear your struggle and we are 100 percent behind you."
Supporters at the rally echoed that sentiment.
"I am here to be there for them. At least to be their voice for them," one protester said. "I can't do anything there for them. They give their blood, but I give my voice for them. That is all I could do. I wish I could more."
"Iranian Americans are supporting their young and old bretheren in Iran in their quest for greater democracy and greater freedoms," another protester added.
Many rallies planned
In addition to the New York vigil, rallies were also planned for Wednesday in cities in the U.S. states of Pennsylvania, California, Iowa and Oregon.
Meanwhile, opposition rallies took place in cities from Australia to Europe.
In Melbourne, Australia, about 300 Iranian expatriates held a peaceful protest, carrying signs and banners calling for an end to the street violence in their homeland and a recount of the votes.
"I believe that they actually cheated in the election and they manipulated the results," a protester said.
Demand for investigation
In Berlin, Germany, representatives of United Republicans of Iran met in front of the Iranian embassy to demand an investigation into the election results.
Member Mehran Barati said it is no longer about the election of Mousavi, but the right to a free vote.
And in Seoul, South Korea, a group of Iranians rallied before a football [soccer] match between South Korea and Iran.
Several Iranian players, including the team captain, began the game wearing green bands around their wrists. Green is the campaign color of opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi.