They chanted, carried signs and cried out. Hundreds of people met outside Dallas City Hall this afternoon to show their support for Iranians who are struggling, even dying, for democracy.
Rally participant, Mel Bad, says, while crying, "My dad's on the streets, my family, my brothers. We're here for freedom. They can't do this there. They can't put signs up and be free."
Rally organizer Shawn Amouei said today's event was about more than the fighting following this month's contested presidential election in Iran. It was about the need for a more secular form of government. Participants agreed. Francesa Mir says, "I don't care who is going to be, Mousavi or Ahmadinejad, I just want my freedom. That's all I want."
The crowd was mostly Iranian-Americans, but also included groups and individuals with no ties to Iran. Rally participant Shaun Blakely says, "Anything like that happened in the states I would certainly hope we would protest it and people would support us."
There was widespread support for Neda Soltan. Gunned down on the streets of Tehran, she has become the symbol of this fight. One particpant says, "27 year old girl. Beautiful. She was killed because she was just demonstrating like me."
Armand Nouri is shooting video for several persian-language tv stations, hoping to get the footage inside Iran. He says he's also funding internet service for friends there, "...so they can get access and chat over the Facebook, send us videos over YouTube and all other sites like Twitter." He and others hope all of this will show Iranians they have support in the states. Participant Leyla Nourian, D.D.S., says, "They don't have internet, they don't have the news, there is no media they're cutting down everything. It's our responsibility to be their ambassador, to be their voice." Organizer Shawn Amouei adds, "It may give them more hope to continue their struggle."