Amid a flurry of vacation buyers in Union Square in San Francisco, Iranian-Americans in the Bay Area rallied on Sunday against the Iranian government’s recent crackdown on protests surrounding a drought that has hit the center. from the country.
The rally participants numbered more than two dozen and all wore homemade eye patches over their faces to symbolize the injuries protesters in Iran suffered when authorities used bird fire and tear gas during the rally. repression in November in the city of Isfahan. Thousands of protesters gathered in the city last month to demand the government take action on the dry conditions that have affected hundreds of thousands of farmers in the region.
“They aimed their eyes,” said Shahin Toutounchi, who left Iran in 1978 and went to Sunday’s rally by BART from Pleasanton. “Out of solidarity, we (wear) the eye patch. “
Toutounchi also carried a red, white and green flag over his shoulder with a lion and a sun in the middle, a flag that was used until the 1979 revolution when Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini overthrew the Shah. Other spectators chanted the ouster of current Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi, a hard-line supporter who was elected last August.
Also in action was San José resident Sheila Neinavaie, who was jailed by the Iranian government for nearly a decade when she was 15 years old. On Sunday, she carried photos in a filing cabinet of fellow inmates she got to know during her incarceration.
“They just need water,” Neinavaie said of farmers in the city of Isfahan. “Nothing else.”
The action was organized by the Iranian-American Community of Northern California, a group that has been around for about 25 years and calls for democratic changes in the Iranian government. It is estimated that as many as one million Iranians live in the United States, most of them located in Southern California.