Global call for end to Iran rights abuses

Protesters demand release of detainees held during agitations that followed prez poll

 Groups including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International backed a global day of action, with protests planned in more than 80 cities. The protesters want Iranian authorities to release what they say are hundreds, or even thousands of people detained during protests that followed the presidential election last month that returned Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to power.

Inside Iran, as well, the police and pro-government militia attacked and scattered hundreds of protesters who had gathered in Tehran in response to the global demonstrations of solidarity, witnesses said.

Demonstrators in Vanak and Mirdamad districts chanted “death to the dictator” and “we want our vote back” before they were attacked and beaten by police on Saturday.

Peaceful demonstration

The police said about 600 protesters joined a “noisy but peaceful”demonstration, outside the Iranian embassy in London, one of a series of events in cities across Europe.
In Brussels, Belgium, protesters held placards carrying images of the detained or dead, including Neda Agha Soltan, the 27-year-old whose death beamed around the world on the Internet became a rallying cry for opponents of the regime.

In Amsterdam, several hundred people watched Iranian Nobel Peace prize laureate Shirin Ebadi urge the international community to reject the outcome of the Iranian election and called for a new vote monitored by the UN. Several hundred protesters gathered behind police barricades just off Times Square in New York City.

A small group of Iranians in New York have been on a three-day hunger strike and are holding frequent demonstrations outside the United Nations office to call on the world body to investigate human rights abuses in Iran.

In Washington, hundreds of demonstrators marched from a UN office downtown to the National Mall for a rally.

About 80 demonstrated in front of the UN’s European headquarters in Geneva, while several hundred people staged a rally at Paris’ Trocadero square overlooking the Eiffel Tower. About 350 people gathered in downtown Vienna and about 150 protesters gathered in Rome. In Norway, about 250 Iranian emigres met at a conference center on the outskirts of Oslo, about 3,000 people gathered in Stockholm and others in Copenhagen, Denmark.

In the Pakistani capital, Islamabad, some 20 Iranians gathered outside the local press club to protest the Iranian crackdown, yelling “Death to the dictator!”. “Innocent Iranians are being killed,” said Hessam Moghimi, 27, who has lived in Pakistan for about eight years. ``We want justice for the blood that’s been spilled.’’

There were small protests in the Australian cities of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and the capital, Canberra.

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