I heard a few days ago that there was an ongoing protest outside the Iranian Embassy in London. It so happens that I left my west-country lair to visit London for family reasons – an excellent opportunity to support the protest, both with my presence and with my first photo-blog.
I would estimate that for the hour or so I was with them there were about one hundred protesters. There were signs of previous, larger protests.
Sam, an extravagant, passionate Persian was directing the proceedings. With that protester’s friend, the bullhorn, he brought various people forward to speak.
Some spoke in generalities, albeit with passion. Some told individual stories of the terrors being visited upon those that are daring to stand up for their democratic rights. Most spoke in English, others in Farsi, with Iranians in the crowd giving a rough translation. Sam had a story to tell of a girl who only wanted freedom.
There was a heart-felt, touching shrine to Neda Sultan, who was killed with a single, targeted shot from long range, while offering no violence or threat.
Most people there were either Iranian, or British of Iranian extraction. Of course the Persian women were as enthusiastic as any. This was a protest against the Islamic Republic, chauvinism, sharia and all that entails. In fact Mousavi was criticised, and obviously only seen as better than Ahmadinejad and not himself a solution. They were protesting for true freedom, and a secular government.
One thing that both heartened and disappointed me was the political tone. The protest that day had been arranged by various left-wing groups, including the TUC. This was a good sign, that George Galloway’s disgraceful attitude does not seem to have wide support on the left. In fact when I was offered a socialist newspaper (had I known the organiser I would not have worn my red t-shirt with the yellow star; purely coincidence that I did, I had forgotten the green one I intended wearing) I had a discussion with the chap distributing it, who had a healthy disdain for Gorgeous George. He even felt that Galloway’s attitude to Iraq was simply because he would support any opponent of the USA.
On the other hand it did make it seem as if support was only from the left; I think I was the only one there who would be happy to be described as right wing. It was a Friday, and for obvious reasons left tend to be more likely to be free on a week day; I hope that today’s planned march had more libertarian and right-wing attendees.
However there was nothing said about Iran that I could disagree with. Workers in the UK were out to support workers in Iran.
After one member of the RMT had passed on her support and that of the workers’ collective, and a little plug for their cause of course, I felt I should express the solidarity of the libertarian right. When Sam offered my the microphone he did call me comrade; I had to point out that I was not a socialist despite the t-shirt, I was probably the only one not of the left there, but they had my support. My contribution was taken with friendly applause, and Sam graciously offered that if I was not comrade then perhaps colleague or friend. I accepted as friend.
Overall I saw the very best side of international socialism.
It was an enthusiastic and moving protest which still had some momentum many days after the suspect election result. It was small, but ongoing protests on a weekday cannot be expected to keep many hundreds of supporters. We are showing British support, but I would like to see more of non-Persian extraction and more from the libertarian right.
[Sorry about the slightly sloppy editing. Am just learning to use LiveWriter, and I’m not sure it’s any good. Either it isn’t, or I am crap]
Update: I have noticed a couple of people have come here from image searches. Of course I took these photos, so I have the copyright. Use them freely as long as you don't make a profit and credit this blog, linking to this post if convenient.