KTLA News 11:07 PM PDT, June 20, 2009
WESTWOOD -- Hundreds of people gathered in Westwood Saturday for two protests to show solidarity with protesters in Iran whose challenges to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's recent reelection have been met with violence.
The first demonstration began around noon outside the Federal Building at Wilshire Boulevard and Veterans Avenue, and at 7 p.m., 300 to 500 people returned.
There were no arrests, and Sgt. Rich Brunson LAPD West Los Angeles Station described the demonstrators as "peaceful" and "cooperative."
Protesters held signs that read "Stop the killing" and "Where is my vote?". Many wore green armbands, headbands, and t-shirts, in support of the Green Wave Movement, lead by Iranian opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi. Mousavi has called for a recount in Iran's June 12 election.
The Westwood protest is the latest in a string of similar protests alleging voter Iranian presidential election. Opponents of Ahmadinejad locally and in Iran have angrily accused the hard-line president of using fraud to steal away any chance of a fair election.
The protesters also called on President Barack Obama to take a harder stance on Iran.
The president released a statement today saying: "The Iranian government must understand that the world is watching. We mourn each and every innocent life that is lost. We call on the Iranian government to stop all violent and unjust actions against its own people. The universal rights to assembly and free speech must be respected, and the United States stands with all who seek to exercise those rights."
Protests have taken place on an almost daily basis across the United States and the world, as well as Iran.
Defying Ahmadinejad's order to stop protesting, thousands of Iranians took to the streets of Tehran for a seventh straight day Saturday in escalating demonstrations that are being met by escalating efforts to put them down.
The unrest is being called the largest since the Iranian revolution of 1979, and is potentially a threat the stability of the Islamic state.
The initial street actions were a protest against what many believe was a rigged election with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reelected, but their demands have grown to calls for more democracy, civil rights for women and an end to repression.
The Westwood demonstration was organized by word-of-mouth and through social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook.
Iranian students and expatriates in Southern California have been using the Internet to relay news about protest movements to friends and relatives in Iran, where authorities have tried to block out all opposition information, even jamming satellite TV channels and banning foreign journalists.
Los Angeles' Iranian community in believed to be one of the largest in the United States.
In: Iran, News
Tags: Iranian. students, expatriates, protest, Iran, elections, westwood, california
Location: Westwood, California, United States (load item map)
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