Iran Supporters Rally at Arizona State University

Clad in green and clutching picket signs, hundreds gathered at Arizona State University on Sunday to show solidarity for post-election protests that have left at least 20 people dead.

"This summer, the youth of Iran have shown an enthusiastic push for freedom, and as a result we have witnessed a new face of democracy and political maturity," said Shawdy Banihashemi, a local attorney originally from Iran who was asked to speak at the rally.

"We are here to tell them that, even though we are halfway around the world, we're standing shoulder-to-shoulder with them in their quest for freedom, democracy and human rights," Banihashemi said.

Participants sang songs in Persian and chanted slogans including "down with dictators" and "democracy for Iran" as an Iranian flag was dropped over the ASU bridge over Universtiy Drive between Mill Avenue and Rural.

The rally at ASU was held by United For Iran and followed Saturday's rally at the Arizona State Capitol. United For Iran is a non-partisan collaborative of human-rights activists who sponsored a "global day of action" Saturday, July 25, featuring rallies in cities around the world.

Many in attendance were Iranian and, as a result, the Persian language was spoken during much of the rally. One man, Benjamin Benefiel of Phoenix, said he did not have to understand the words to understand the intent behind them.

"If you watch the footage of what has been captured and what is taking place in Tehran, it's very obvious that the people who are actually marching on the streets acknowledge the fact that they could be killed very easily," Benefiel said. "But that's secondary to getting their voice heard."

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Jonathan McNamara