On the fifth day of violence and unrest in Iran following the country’s elections, LGBT people are being urged to attend a demonstration calling for democracy and freedom.
The dispute stemmed from accusations of vote-rigging towards Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the current president. He won with two-thirds of the votes.
The accusations point to the fact that the results were announced in blocks of millions of votes, rather than province by province. This voting pattern appeared to show that Ahmadinejad is equally popular in rural and urban areas, despite accepted opinion that the president has far greater support outside of the major cities.
Hundreds of thousands of protestors have taken to the streets, although many of Ahmadinejad’s opponents have been arrested.
Among those detained are Saeed Laylaz, a leading journalist, and Saeed Hajarian, a former adviser to Mohammad Khatami and supporter of the opposition candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi. He was badly injured in an assassination attempt nine years ago and is unlikely to be receiving the medical care he needs.
The British protest is to be held tomorrow (Thursday) outside the Iranian Embassy in London.
Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell is urging the LGBT community to join the protest.
He said: “I would urge LGBT individuals and organisations to join these protests and to lobby the Iranian Ambassador.
“As a matter of principle, we should support this epic mass movement for fair votes, personal liberty, social justice and human rights.”
He added: “Iran is not only a tyranny for LGBT people, but also for women, trade unionists, Sunni Muslims, Baha’is, students, journalists, human rights advocates and persecuted ethnic minorities like the Arabs, Kurds, Azeris and Baluchs.
“If all these groups can work together, the regime will crumble – if not now, then in the future. We should do our bit to encourage this solidarity and unity by supporting the current wave of protests as out and proud LGBT people.
The protest will be held at 16 Princes Gate, SW7 1PT, from 6pm to 8pm.