NEW January 4, 2010: Violence and the Revolution, Revolution and the BBC Farsi
March to Demand an End to Violence against the Iranian People
January 3, 2010 – Washington, D.C., USA
photo by Ali Khaligh
On what must have been the coldest day of the year, with temperatures below freezing and a vicious wind scything through the air, protesters began to converge at 1775 K St NW – outside of the United Nations Information Center – for the March to Demand an End to Violence against the Iranian People, organized by the Solidarity Committee. As we walked toward the meeting place for the rally, it was murmured that we should embrace the bitter weather and be appreciative of marching in freezing temperatures rather than under threat of bullets and truncheon bludgeonings. Indeed, many in the community must have felt the same way, as at least 300 people were in attendance.
The rally began at 1:30pm. We assembled on the corner and shouted: “MARG BAR DICTATOR!”, “Zendani siasi azad bayad gardad!”, “Ahmadinejad, RESIGN! RESIGN!”, “Khamenei, RESIGN! RESIGN!”, “Democracy YES! Theocracy NO!”, “Marg Bar Jomhuri-ye Islamii!” and others. There were numerous handwritten signs explicitly calling for secular democracy, one that read “Democracy, Freedom and a Secular Republic for Iran,” several signs showing photos of Ashoura and of Iranian political prisoners, and a hand-drawn sign with the symbol of the Islamic Republic crossed out and the words beneath “We do not want a flag like crab. We do not want a leader like crap.” Other signs read “Freedom, Equality, Justice,” and one large banner conveyed poetry reflecting in part the shared interest among all humanity in the outcome of the Iranian struggle:
World with Iranians Unite
Every dictator’s might
Is in danger with your fight
Human rights are in sight
There were no chants of “Ya Hossein, Mir Hossein.”
There were chants asking whether prison rape was prescribed in the Qur’an.
Unfortunately, during the rally there was a verbal confrontation between the protest organizers and a couple of people who regularly turn up to agitate people attending the rally. Ironically, both the agitators and main protest group espouse the same perspectives (Down With the Islamic Republic), and yet the verbal confrontation escalated to a physical altercation that required police intervention.
After about thirty minutes of chanting, the group marched toward the White House, still chanting, the crowd getting larger with every step.
Upon arriving in front of the White House, the group assembled for another 30 minutes or so of shouting down the Islamic Republic of Iran. Many people took photos of the march and rally, from tourists who had come to see the White House to newscameras from NBC4, which later broadcast their coverage of the protest. Several newscameras were in evidence during the rally. (photos of the event can be found here: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5)
At about 3pm, the group listened to poetry by Fariba Safai, and to a reading of a list of names of those detained or executed by the Islamic Republic of Iran. While temperatures were very cold, tempers were running hotter than usual as yet another scuffle broke out. At 4pm, the crowd of about 300 people dispersed and sought shelter from the cold.
We thank the Solidarity Committee to Protect the Iranian People’s Will for organizing this successful event.
~ Maria Rohaly