Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Canadian Iranian Community Makes a Strong Showing

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Canadian Iranian Community Makes a Strong Showing

Article excerpt

MORE THAN 5,000 members of Toronto's large Iranian community came out for a peaceful gathering June 21 at Queens Park (home of Canada's legislature) in support of voters in Iran who'd marched and voiced their opinions in the face of brutal oppression. Many in the local community had stayed glued to their TVs, radios, and Facebook, Youtube and Twitter accounts waiting to hear the latest news of the post-elections protests in Iran. They demonstrated to voice their anger over suspected voting fraud and the subsequent violations of human rights, including the suppression of protests and freedom of speech by the Iranian government.

The crowd was a mixture of young and old from the Iranian diaspora, including expats and political refugees, who number more than 150,000 in the greater Toronto area. There seemed to be a generational divide among the demonstrators. Jian Ghomeshi, a well-known and dynamic Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) personality, asked for a unified and peaceful crowd. Immediately some older women started to shout him down-yet most people agreed that peace and security in Iran should be a priority.

Some protesters carried signs in support of Neda Agha Soltan, the 27-year-old music student whose violent death during a June 20 protest was captured on a Youtube video and viewed around the world. …

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