Members of Manchester Hands Off the People of Iran and supporters from the Iranian community held a demonstration in solidarity with the Iranian students’ movement on March 25. The demonstrators held pictures of the recently arrested students and carried a banner which read, ‘Free our comrades’.
We called the demonstration in solidarity with members of the Students for Freedom and Equality group, who have been arrested and tortured by the Iranian regime for standing up to imperialism, militarism, homophobia, patriarchy and state repression. They were arrested under the guise of presenting a threat to national security.
The regime uses the threat of war and further sanctions as an excuse to put down student and worker opposition. Students have been at the forefront of the fight for democracy and liberation, linking up with the workers’, women’s and national movements in the process.
Speakers at the rally included Ben Lewis (CPGB), who spoke of the need to fight imperialism and militarism – it would be criminal to leave democratic forces within Iran to be manipulated by the US. Vicky Thompson (Permanent Revolution) saluted the bravery of the Iranian student movement and called for the immediate and unconditional release of those arrested. Dan Lee (Green Party) and Robbie Gillet (Manchester student union) also spoke. Messages of solidarity were read out from the Iranian Workers’ Solidarity Network and a letter from imprisoned teacher Farzad Kamangar, who has been threatened with execution.
Many people signed a petition to be sent to the Iranian consulate and took away literature on the movements in Iran as well as Hopi’s new Smash the Sanctions campaign.
After the action we held an organising meeting, where we discussed building the Smash the Sanctions speaking tour.