Protesters denounce Iranian violence

The demonstration precedes an upcoming protest.

University biology graduate student Hoda Saedi and her friend, pharmacist Jessica Reiter, attend a vigil Monday at Peavey Plaza in downtown Minneapolis. The vigil was to honor those currently part of the conflict in Iran.

Ashley Goetz

University biology graduate student Hoda Saedi and her friend, pharmacist Jessica Reiter, attend a vigil Monday at Peavey Plaza in downtown Minneapolis. The vigil was to honor those currently part of the conflict in Iran.

About 30 people attended a Saturday protest in Uptown to show their anger at the alleged Iran election fraud and violent police reactions to protests in IranâÄôs capital Tehran. The protest was organized by University of Minnesota students. The protesters, on the corner of West Lake Street and Hennepin Avenue, yelled chants and waved signs to express their anger at the Iran controversy. Primary election results handed the victory to incumbent President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad instead of a reformist candidate. The group, which ranged in age and was a mixture of Americans and Iranians, stood on the street corner from approximately noon until 2:30 p.m. Saturday. Many wore green arm or wrist bands in support of the Iranian people. Protesters Amir Shiv a and Sima Sajjadi are Iranian students at the University. âÄúOur main concern is the violence,âÄù Shiva said, with Sajjadi punctuating âÄúand the lies and the government, the killing of innocent people.âÄù Sajjadi said her close friend in Iran saw someone shot and killed on the streets during a protest. According to Iranian-funded Press TV, as of Monday, 13 Tehran protesters were killed and 20 were injured. Unofficial reports put the death toll at over 150, according to CNN. Like activists around the world, Shiva and Sajjadi have been following online communications such as Facebook , YouTube and Twitter to keep up with Iranian news. They said they also use Skype , an Internet webcam communication tool, to keep in touch with their families in Iran, because the Iranian government has shut down cell phone technologies. The Internet has also played a role in the planning of the protests worldwide. Hannah Heidt , a 24-year-old student at the University and an organizer of the protest, said the planning of the demonstration was done âÄúentirely over the Internet.âÄù She added that the group did not need any special permission to hold the demonstration, because, âÄúyou are allowed to stand on a street corner and say whatever you want.âÄù Bob Peterson , an American student who will be a junior at the University this fall, found out about the protest through Iran.whyweprotest.net , an anonymous online forum where activists around the world can announce plans for a protest. Peterson said that although he has no personal connection with Iran, he protested to âÄúsupport the idea that everybody should be able to have free and fair elections.âÄù University graduate student and first-generation Iranian-American Sara Nasiri Amini passionately marched along the street corner in the 90-degree weather and yelled chants to which the group responded. âÄúWhat do we want?âÄù she yelled. âÄúJustice!âÄù the group echoed. âÄúWhen do we want it?âÄù âÄúNow!âÄù As cars honked in response to âÄúHonk for IranâÄù signs, Nasiri Amini proudly announced, âÄúThatâÄôs what we want âÄî their support.âÄù Many of the same people at the protests have also been attending vigils at Peavey Plaza in Minneapolis each night since Saturday. Shahrouz Takyar , an Iranian student at the University, said the group at the vigils generally light candles and talk about that dayâÄôs events in Iran. He said the vigils will continue each night through Friday.