Iranian Americans and others who support the protests taking place in cities across Iran in opposition to the ruling Islamist regime took to the streets in Washington, DC, and Los Angeles this weekend to show their solidarity with the protesters.
At least 21 protesters have been killed since protests began on December 27, but some say the number is much higher. Authorities in Iran have said that at least 450 people were detained, but the U.S. Department of State said the number could be as many as 1,000, CNN reported.
Iranian officials have declared the protests over, but, as Breitbart News reported, Iranians in exile claim the regime has thwarted efforts to get the news about them out through social media and other online outlets.
In Washington, DC, on Saturday, despite frigid temperatures, more than 500 protesters gathered in front of the White House.
“We are gathered here to say to the international community; you must recognize the legitimate right of the people of Iran and overthrow the ruling religious dictatorship and establish a secular, democratic, Republic of Iran,” Emadi said. “You must strongly condemn and hold accountable the Iranian regime for murder and mass arrest of defenseless protesters.”
“You must impose sanctions on the regime for killings and arrests during current uprisings,” said Emadi, who supports the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) and Rep. Tom Garrett (R-VA) also spoke at the rally.
“What you’re seeing today is a very frightened dictatorship, which is corrupt, which is out of touch,” Gingrich said. “It looks out for its own ideological interest and its own desire to dominate the region.”
“We have already seen more action by President Trump and this administration in the last week than we saw in the eight years as President Obama tried to appease the administration, the dictatorship, and tried to get a deal,” Gingrich said, adding:
And let me say that everybody in Europe and everyone in the American elite who are worried about the nuclear deal and whether or not this is going to endanger the nuclear deal, the only long-term way to deal with the threat of an Iranian dictatorship with nuclear weapons is to end the dictatorship.
“Throughout history, we have seen evil manifest itself in the form of leadership of people,” Garrett said. “The Khmer Rouge in Cambodia were evil, but the people were not.”
“The Iranian people are not the enemy of the United States of America,” Garrett said. “But, make no mistake about it, the mullahs and the regime are because they’re the enemies of freedom-loving people across the globe.”
The Los Angeles Times reported that about 2,000 people marched outside of the Wilson Federal Building in solidarity with the Iranian protesters, citing reports on Twitter and other social media.
The Times reported:
Also demonstrating was Nanaz Baghai, a doctor who said she left Iran in 1976 and was studying medicine at USC during the revolution. She said she was marching Sunday for women’s rights and education for all in Iran, and against government corruption.
“We’re going to do everything in our power to help democracy,” she said.
The crowd in Los Angeles also expressed thanks to President Donald Trump for his outspoken support of the protesters, according to tweets posted during the weekend.