|.Large gathering of Iranian dissidents (Le Parisien) .|
|Wednesday, 22 June 2011 14:10|
By Gwenael BOURDON
Le Parisien, 18 June – It was a large rally for political mobilization but also a call for an issue of humanitarian urgency. This afternoon, tens of thousands of people will gather at the Parc des Expositions de Villepinte, invited by the French Committee for a Democratic Iran, and
the National Council of Resistance of Iran, which includes opposition parties against Tehran regime.
At the heart of this meeting was the plight of Iranian refugees in Camp Ashraf in Iraq, home to 3,400 people, which was violently attacked in April by the Iraqi army leading to the death of 30 refugees.
"The camp population, made up of opponents of the mullahs' regime, was completely disarmed," said Afshin Alavi, spokesman for the National Council of Resistance of Iran.
Since then, the UN has demanded an independent investigation into the attack, which the Iraqi army is preventing. The event organizers want to show their support for the plan recently submitted to the European Parliament, which aims to protect residents of Camp Ashraf.
Several political figures are expected, including former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, as well as delegations of MEPs and MP Jean-Pierre Brard. Organizers predict the influx of tens of thousands of participants from Europe as well as the United States, Canada, and Australia.
More than 700 buses have arrived from Germany alone. The date is also very symbolic. Eight years ago to the day, a wave of arrests took place among the Iranian community in France, including in Auvers-sur-Oise (Val-d'Oise). Twenty-four people were subsequently indicted, accused of being linked to terrorist activities. In early May, the judiciary finally dismissed the allegations.
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