200 protest outside Iranian Embassy

by Antoni Slodkowski

About 200 people attended a rally Saturday near the Iranian Embassy in Tokyo to protest the alleged rigging of the Iranian presidential election.

The gathering consisted mostly of Iranian residents of Japan, including an informal group of Iranian university students, researchers, business owners and company workers.

Many sported green hair bands and T-shirts — the official color of the main opposition leader, Mir Hossein Mousavi.

We demand “the quick investigation of the suspected election fraud,” a protester representing the rally declared as he read a statement in front of the embassy.

The statement also demanded that the military authorities responsible for the recent shootings and vandalism be prosecuted and that those who were illegally arrested be released.

Initially, the protesters wanted to stage a rally in front of the embassy but were told by police that they could only march from a nearby bridge to the embassy in groups of five.

After the protest, Mir, 40, an Iranian faculty member of a university in Tokyo, said that he suspects the outcome of the presidential election may have been fraudulent.

“We think that massive protests in Iran point at the fact that most people voted for Mousavi,” he said, holding his 1-year-old daughter’s hand with a green ribbon wrapped around her wrist.

Many of the protesters were wearing masks and sunglasses to prevent authorities from identifying them.

“Ahmadinejad, you are a bunch of dust, you’re nothing, you’re not Iranian,” the protesters shouted out during the peaceful rally.

“We want freedom, we want democracy in my country,” said a 40-year-old Iranian living in Tokyo who goes by the nickname Morteeza.

He was holding a picture of a man shot during recent protests staged in Tehran.

“They kill people, kill too many people. Too many people go to jail in Iran,” he said.