Sunday, July 26, 2009

United For Iran: Cincinnatians Hold Second Rally to Voice Support for Iranians

Yesterday, citizens of the Greater Cincinnati Area gathered on Fountain Square to rally in support of the people of Iran, the second such rally within the last month. The rally was entitled, "United for Iran: Global Day of Action" and included speeches by those who organized the event, chants, signs, a song, and the formation of a human chain to symbolize solidarity with those in Iran who have been protesting since the contested election on June 12, 2009. From the organizer's Facebook page:

Join us, all Iranians and Non-Iranians, in expressing solidarity with the freedom-seeking protesters in Iran. Many of our own friends and relatives are bravely marching on the streets, and we feel a duty to support them by keeping up the momentum and continuing to raise awareness of these important events in Iran.

Around 80 people attended this event which is down slightly from the attendance of over 100 at the first rally and the decrease was mainly attributed to a threat of thunderstorms as well as the diminishing media coverage. There was a noticeable increase in the attendance of non-Iranians at this rally as well as those who drove by Fountain Square while honking their horn and giving their "thumbs up" in support of the demonstrators. Also in attendance was Democratic candidate for Cincinnati City Council, Nicholas Hollan, who felt it important to show his support for not only those gathered in Cincinnati, but those who continue to raise their voice in Iran. I had an opportunity to ask him a few questions at the conclusion of the rally and that interview will be available within the next few days.

Demonstrators young and old holding signs of support and handing out fliers to passers-by gathered around the bullhorn at a little after 4PM as the rally kicked off:

After the introduction and as more people joined the rally, attendees began chanting their support for the people of Iran:

"Natarseed, natarseed ma hameh baham hasteem" (Don't be afraid, Don't be afraid, we are all in this together)

"An injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere"

and "Basiji Basiji stop the violence now" were just some of slogans that echoed throughout Fountain Square and attracted new people to join the rally. A flier that was being passed out by organizers stated:

"The Iranian government is in clear violation of the Iranian people's human rights. We are here to stand with the people of Iran in their fight for civil and human rights. We urge all of you to take action with us. We cannot let all those that gave up their lives demanding freedom to be forgotten. We want to let our Iranian brothers and sisters know that we hear their voices and they are not alone!"

Demonstrator Jay Sardinia then took the microphone and spoke about the spontaneity of the protests taking place in Iran as well as the struggles that the face the Iranian youth:

Following Sardinia's speech, attendees at the demonstration formed a human chain around the perimeter of Fountain Square's corner of Fifth Street and Vine while continuing to chant and sing to show their support for Democracy and against the violations of human rights in Iran.

Once the two-hour rally concluded, I was able to once-again speak with organizer Nazanin Tork about the her goals for these demonstrations, the media coverage of the continued unrest in Iran, and what is next:

This piece is crossposted here.

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