Amnesty International USA and United4Iran partnered to coordinate an Azadi Square Campaign to demonstrate solidarity with the people of Iran in their struggle for human rights. Azadi (Freedom) Square in Tehran is a prominent public place where some of the massive peaceful protests of two years ago took place.
Sadly, the government brutally crushed the protests; but even though Iranians can no longer safely gather in their own Azadi Square, we can show our support. Activists all over the country are encouraged to symbolically rename public places in their towns or on their campuses “Azadi Square” and take photos. Click here to learn more and participate in the campaign!
In the past week, several Azadi Square actions have been held. One was in New York last Wednesday and involved about forty Amnesty International activists who very renamed the plaza right beside the Iran Mission to the United Nations in New York “Azadi Square.”.
A number of celebrities accompanied the Amnesty delegation and Executive Director Larry Cox, including acclaimed film director Paul Haggis, Griffin Dunne, Trudy Styler, Amnesty spokesperson Nazanin Boniadi and former Newsweek journalist Maziar Bahari who was detained and tortured in prison in 2009.
One highlight of the action was the delivery of a stack of petitions with nearly 21,000 signatures, plus several hundred postcards, on behalf of persecuted Iranian film director Jafar Panahi to the Iranian Mission to the UN. At first the Mission was unwilling to take the petitions, but Mr. Haggis, who carried the petitions refused to back down and after prolonged negotiations, the petitions were finally accepted by an officer at the Mission.
The action was covered by the media, including Fox News, Bloomberg News, BBC Persian and VOA Persian Activists in Chicago held another Azadi Square action, including a panel discussion.
Nevada based Reno4Iran also turned downtown Reno into Azadi Square to mark two years since Iran’s disputed election, as well as to highlight detained student activist, Majid Tavakoli. All the way in Madrid, Spain, activists organized a Bike 4 Iran event to highlight various issues – including the repression of Iran’s Baha’i community – and concluded with participants taking a picture of their own recreated Azadi Square.
See photos of these actions below! For a complete gallery, please visit AIUSA’s Azadi Square flickr set.