Four days of hunger strikes and demonstrations against the Iranian government began on Wednesday in New York, outside the United Nations. The protests are directed against authorities in Tehran, following last month's disputed presidential election and the street violence that followed.

Hundreds of protesters turned out to state their opposition to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Tehran's violent crackdown against demonstrators following the election.

One of the organizers in New York, Mani Shirazi, says freedom of expression is one of their priorities.

"All political prisoners in Iran must be released," said Mani Shirazi.

Mir Hossein Mousavi, one of the opposition leaders defeated by Mr. Ahamadinejad in the disputed election, says that the Iranian president is causing domestic and international problems for the country.

The leaders of the demonstration in New York say the Iranian leadership is violating the country's commitments to international human rights treaties and Iranian law.

The demonstration has drawn activists from across the United States. Essie Mohaddess came from Sacramento, California.

"It will bring international attention to the events in Iran," said Essie Mohaddess. "It will bring international attention to the brutality of the paramilitaries of the Revolutionary Guard. I am hoping the Secretary-General of the U.N. will appoint a group to go to Iran and to investigate the issues, to investigate the tortures, investigate the killing and imprisonment of people without any charges."

Protest organizers say there will be rallies in some 50 cities around the world on Saturday to protest the situation in Iran.

Kamran Talattof is an Iranian affairs expert at the University of Arizona.

"I hope we will be able to send a message, a clear message that you have to stop suppressing people, that you have to stop killing innocent people on the streets of Iran," said Kamran Talattof. "We are tired of this 30 years of suppression of freedom of expression and democracy in Iran. There has to be an end to this."

Since the contested elections in Iran on June 12, hundreds of thousands of people have participated in demonstrations around the globe.