Thousands rally in downtown L.A. for regime change in Iran, and for justice for Jafar Panahi
“The world has long condemned the Islamic Republic for its repeated human-rights violations in Iran,” said Hadi Ghaemi, the deputy director of the anti-censorship activist group Free Iran. “The regime’s repression and ongoing repression is an affront to the international community,” he said.
A procession, in support of Jafar Panahi, takes place in New York‘s Times Square. More than 2,000 people, mostly in labor and civil rights groups, gathered in Times Square to show support for him.
“Every day I am thinking about him,” said Mehrzad Mobasser, an Iranian-American who attended the “Jafar Panahi March for Freedom” in Times Square. “There were hundreds of young people, women, elderly, and disabled people. This shows that Iran is not just a country of religious fanaticism, but it’s a country that’s full of human and conscience problems. And it is Iran that is the problem.”
“It is Iran that is the problem,” said Mobasser, who was wearing a T-shirt with a photo of Panahi on it.
In the U.S., support for Panahi has increased in the past year.
The campaign is the product of two years of protests against Iran’s clerical regime. Last year, more than 30 Iranians were executed in a crackdown on anti-government protesters. A U.S. man, who was convicted of spying for the Iranian regime, is serving a life sentence.
Iranian authorities have arrested more than 3,500 people, and dozens of have been executed. More than 2,000 people have been imprisoned, and hundreds are still in prison. Amnesty International has documented hundreds of other cases of arbitrary arrests and mistreatment.
“Jafar Panahi is a hero in Iran,” said Mobasser. “He’s been tortured and imprisoned for four years, and then he was beaten and abused — he is a victim of the regime.”
“Jafar Panahi and his family were arrested in Iran. They are still in exile there,” said Mobasser. “The authorities in Iran say that he hasn