Report on Sunday, February 7, 2010 demonstration in Mel Lastman Square in Toronto Canada by so called “green” students.
by Mehran Mahbobi
On Sunday, February 7, 2010, we had a Canada Marx Association meeting in which Hamid Taqvaee (WPI Leader) gave his speech on Revolution and a Humane Society for Iran. We had a 45 minute break during which I tried to join a demonstration that was also being held in the same place in Mel Lastman Square.
I saw quite a few people there with all kind of flags, but the main organizer of the demonstration happened to be a student who had a “green” scarf or flag with them. I should think in this cold no one would come out and chant reformist slogans. So, I joined them. I saw another friend of mine from Worker-communist Party of Iran (WPI) there among the main people chanting with the rest. I joined them. The two of us tried chanting with the rest but to ones which were appropriate to us like “Free All political prisoners”. When it came to “Hey! Hey! HOO! HOO! What do you want? Freedom! When do you want it? Now!” they tried to say “Democracy!” and we chanted “Freedom!” instead. That confused them. Some did agree with it some did not, and they tried a few times with “Freedom!” but it did not go through and stop it all together.
When they chanted for “Referendum,” that was when we really tried to oppose it strongly. Chanting that was against all we were there for. We start voicing louder “Why Referendum?! Who are you asking to bring this referendum? Murderers and rapists and criminals?!” They stopped that too. They were very confused as far as what to chant and what not to. Among themselves they had some conflict about what to chant. We started to ask, “Why not ‘Down to Islamic Republic of Iran!’?!” And we chanted that a few times. That did it. They stopped the whole demonstration 40 minutes earlier than it was supposed to end.
I was laughing with my friends. All were there and wanted to go till the end. There were more than 600 people. Everyone wanted to continue the rally. But the organizers decided not to do that. They went up to the microphone and started to disperse people. Just before the speaker finished his talking, I shouted “Where is the free microphone?” I said, “Everywhere else we have it, why not here? In Washington, New York, Toronto, all European cities in the recent demonstrations, we are having open microphone.” I said, “Are we really struggling for freedom of speech?” Except for one organizer whose name was Pouya, tall and skinny, all others were advocating for having an open microphone. Pouya said to me, “Don’t worry, you can talk, just come to our group’s weekly meeting” in some remote place somewhere downtown, and I could have the microphone and talk. I said to him, “’Freedom of speech’ means to reach out your voice to people in gathering, not in your own home that you are referring me to.” Anyway, all accepted and a few other students asked me to come on Friday, February 12 at Toronto University, to send my messages through open microphone. I trusted their sincere invitation and shall be there; we’ll see what happens.
WPI as always attends demonstration on Saturdays in Mel Lastman Square, and on Thursday February 11 they have plans to coordinate with some leftist groups including greens and reds. WPI will also go with others to Ottawa to protest at the Iranian Embassy this week. We are waiting for collapse of the regime on 22 Bahman if all goes well, as revolutionary momentum is so high. If not, that might be a stepping stone for the next ones.