San Francisco Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi and a group of civil rights activists announced today that San Francisco will be one of 60 cities worldwide to host a rally on Saturday to show solidarity with Iranians in the wake of post-election violence and oppression.

The event, “United for Iran,” will take place from noon to 4 p.m. in Civic Center Plaza and will include presentations by politicians and experts on the situation in Iran, as well as live entertainment and music.

Event supporters, who include Dolores Huerta of United Farm Workers and other local labor leaders, said at a new conference on the steps of City Hall that the goal of the diverse rally is to support the Iranian people’s right to express their political will.

“We’re hoping for massive, broad-based turnout, and for the media inside and outside of Iran to take notice,” organizer Firuzeh Mahmoudi said.

Mahmoudi, a local environmentalist, was inspired to help organize the event by witnessing the violent aftermath of the June 12 presidential election.

“We want them to know the world is watching, and we will not tolerate torture or killings,” she said. “It’s a movement to support the people of Iran in having their voices heard.”
Mirkarimi, who is Iranian-American, said the goal is to catalyze a citizen diplomacy movement between Americans and Iranians while respecting Iranians’ rights to self-determination.

He said he believes the citizens of the U.S. can speak out against the Iranian government in ways the Obama administration cannot.

“Ignoring what happened after the elections would be the worst thing we could do,” he said. “It would validate the oppressive manner of the clamp-down.”

Scheduled speakers at the San Francisco rally include Mirkarimi, state Sen. Mark Leno, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, and representatives from Amnesty International, Stanford University and Global Exchange.

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