Join Amnesty & United4Iran for a Virtual Protest In Iran’s Azadi Square

Get Involved!

The Azadi Square action, a joint effort with United4Iran, is part of Amnesty’s campaign for imprisoned student activist Majid Tavakkoli and hundreds of other prisoners of conscience in Iran.

Below is an abbreviated summary of how to take part in the Azadi Square action and other ways to get involved. For more background, please see below or read this blog post by AI’s Iran country specialist.

A full activism guide put together by Amnesty International USA is available for download as a PDF here. The full guide includes examples of letters and posters, sample resolutions, detailed instructions, suggestions, messaging, tips for organizing, and more.

Background

In Iran, students continue to face egregious forms of repression and human rights abuses, as the Iranian authorities attempt to exert control over students opposed to their policies. Those who dare speak out, do so at great risk and with devastating consequences.

Majid Tavakkoli is one of the hundreds of people who have been jailed in Iran for simply exercising their right to freedom of expression. Majid, a student leader, was arrested in December 2009 after speaking at a university rally. He is now serving a term of more than eight years in prison for simply criticizing the government.


A Virtual International Protest in Azadi Square

  • Pick a location to rename Azadi Square. This can be a prominent place in your community, or simply some place close to home, like your front yard.
  • Make a sign, noting that you are in Azadi Square. Here are some suggested slogans: Free Majid Tavakkoli! Or, Shine a light for human rights in Iran! For more slogans visit: amnestyusa.org/majid.  Template signs that you can download and print are also available below. But, feel free to get creative and create your own. Need some inspiration? Check out the photos on Flickr.
  • Temporarily rename your location Azadi Square. You can do this by simply holding or posting your sign or try to get a more formal proclamation made by your student government or city officials.
  • Take a picture to document this momentous event.  The picture can be by yourself or with a large group of people.
  • Upload your pictures to the Amnesty International Flickr account and please note city, state, and country. These pictures will be compiled and used to create a virtual protest in Azadi Square, calling for the freedom of Majid Tavakkoli and all prisoners of  conscience in Iran.

Template signs: If printing on 8.5×11 paper: Template 1Template 2Template 3
If printing on 11×17 paper: Template 1Template 2Template 3


Other ways to take action:

  • Pass the mic for Majid: Take up the microphone to help share Majid Tavakkoli’s hopes for ―human rights, justice and peace in Iran. Hold an open mic night, encouraging people to share spoken word and slam poetry about human rights and freedom of expression.
  • Letter Writing and Postcard Mailing: In the coming months, join other Amnesty activists in barraging Iranian government officials with letters, postcards, and petitions calling for the release of Majid Tavakkoli. Spread the word about Majid’s case by submitting Letters to the Editor to your local paper, and if you would like to receive postcards, email ikelly@aiusa.org
  • Pass a Resolution of Support: Mobilize your campus and spread a powerful message of solidarity with Majid Tavakkoli and other detained Iranian students—Work with your student government to pass a Student Resolution. There is a sample resolution available on Students4Iran.org. A sample resolution can be found here.

Questions? Contact: Ilona Kelly, Individuals at Risk Campaigner – Africa and the Middle East, ikelly@aiusa.org.

For more information, ideas, and instructions, download the Activist Guide (PDF).

[Amnesty International (editor’s note: and United4Iran) do not take a position on any political party, agenda or ideology in Iran, but instead focus on the human rights violations. Please only include messages that focus on human rights.]

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Azadi Square – Blog Post by AIUSA’s Iran Country Specialist

Written by: Elise Auerbach, Iran & Jordan Country Specialist, Amnesty International USA

Shortly after the Iranian Revolution in 1979, authorities renamed a large public square in Tehran Meidan-e Azadi, or Azadi Square. This square was the site of large demonstrations in the wake of the disputed 2009 Iranian presidential elections; thousands of peaceful protesters were arrested, beaten and tortured for exercising their right to freedom of expression while dozens were killed by security forces.

And at the same time that the Iranian government publicly declared their support for the democracy activists in Egypt and Tunisia, they denied a permit for a peaceful solidarity demonstration in February, and have only intensified their brutal crackdown on civil society activists. The irony is not lost on most Iranians, who deplore the glaring disparity between the Iranian government’s high-flown rhetoric and its appalling treatment of its citizens.

Amnesty International’s new Azadi Square action will bring attention on the incongruity between the rhetoric and the reality, and to call upon the government to end their repression and fulfill the promise of freedom implied by the name of the most prominent public place in Iran’s capital.

The Azadi Square action, a joint effort with United4Iran, is part of Amnesty’s campaign on behalf of imprisoned student activist Majid Tavakkoli and the hundreds of other prisoners of conscience in Iran.

Majid Tavakkoli was arrested shortly after making a speech to mark Students Day in December 2009. He was beaten in detention and held in solitary confinement. He was eventually convicted of “participating in an illegal gathering,” “propaganda against the system,” “insulting the Supreme Leader” and “insulting the president” after an unfair trial in a Revolutionary Court and sentenced to more than eight years in prison. He is currently serving his sentence in Raja’i Shahr Prison in Karaj, and is in poor health.

Several prominent prisoners of conscience, including Majid Tavakkoli, have held hunger strikes to protest the dangerously squalid conditions in the prison. While we are focusing on Mr. Tavakkoli, in solidarity and admiration for his enormous courage—and for the enormous price he is paying—we recognize that he is one of too many Iranians—including human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, journalist Hengameh Shahidi, and Kurdish human rights defender Mohammad Sadiq Kabudvand—who languish in Iran’s prisons.

Amnesty activists are urged to send a birthday greeting to Majid Tavakkoli who will turn 25 on May 22. Amnesty International and United4Iran are collecting video birthday greetings sent by activists for a birthday video .  We want to let him know that people around the world are remembering him while he spends his birthday in prison.

We’re also asking you to participate in Amnesty’s virtual Azadi Square action. It’s very simple. It involves temporarily renaming a prominent place in your community or campus “Azadi Square.” Then one or more people can stand there holding a sign saying “Azadi Square,” “Where is our Azadi” or another slogan and have a picture taken and sent to Amnesty International. Of course, we encourage people to hold larger and more public actions if they can, but even one person with a sign can carry out this action!

We will collect all the images and juxtapose them with the original Azadi Square. This action is intended to send a message of support to all the courageous Iranians who would be taking an enormous risk if they congregated in the “real” Azadi Square to exercise their most basic human rights.

Instructions on how to participate in the Azadi Square action >

Original: http://blog.amnestyusa.org/iar/join-the-virtual-protest-in-irans-azadi-square/

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