Yesterday I attended what I thought was a pro-democracy demonstration in Mel Lastman Square. As I arrived I realized that this was once again a pro-Mousavi, pro-Islamic Regime demonstration. Once again there were no Lion and Sun flags except a few scattered ones carried by individuals who were standing apart from this crowd. The demonstrators were wearing mostly black and had green balloons or green headbands or wristbands.

A guy wearing all black was distributing flyers about the Solidarity with Iran demonstration which is to take place today, Sunday June 27th 2009. I asked him why they were threatening people in their flyer by saying those carrying Lion and Sun Flags would be attacked. He would not give me a straight answer, I asked him who the organizer of this event was and once again he would not answer, and he could not get away from me fast enough.

I climbed the stairs on the left side of Mel Lastman Square and stood with a number of other people who were carrying Lion and Sun Flags. I started listening to a speech that was being made by one of the speakers. This speaker was talking about how after the bloody revolution of 1979 people were free to vote for their representatives, and that today the people’s vote should be respected!!

How anyone could claim something so ridiculous is beyond me, since 1979 there has been no such a thing as a free election in Iran. The Islamic Fundamentalists have taken over our country and have suppressed any sign of opposition by imprisoning, torturing, raping and executing people who oppose them. The audacity of these Regime Agents to make such claims about free elections in Iran boggles my mind!!
Upon hearing this I started shouting “Down with the Islamic Regime in Iran,” a few people joined in but not very many. Some people wanted to wait until the event organized by these Regime agents to finish before we started shouting slogans. I had to remind them that freedom loving people in Iran were not allowed to hold any events, or participate in any demonstrations freely. Did the Regime let Neda or others like her finish their event before shooting them to death?

I kept on shouting “Down with the Islamic Regime” until I saw about 5-6 guys, dressed all in black, with Islamic beards, sunglasses and soldier like arm bands come up to me. The surrounded me, and although they did not touch me they completely invaded my personal space and started screaming at me and telling me to shut up. I started shouting “Down with Basiji” until they left me alone a few minutes later. I went to the police and complained however the two police officers who were present looked at me like I was crazy. They told me they would not get involved unless someone was actually physically assaulted. They also indicated that they knew the event organizer and they would not get involved unless a complaint was made by the event organizer.

Up to this point the Toronto Police has been amazing in protecting the protestors and quite vigilant. I was shocked to see the reaction of these two police officers. For the first time since my arrival in Canada I do not feel safe, because I saw with my own eyes police watching while pro-democracy protestors including myself were being intimidated and threatened by Basij and Regime Agents in Canada. By the end of the protest two pro-democracy protestors were arrested by these police officers, however there were no repercussions for Regime Agents who were intimidating pro-democracy protestors who had the Lion and Sun Flag.

I also had a chance to speak to a freelance photographer who was taking pictures during the protest, he told me that some of these Regime Agents were taking his picture and that he was quite intimidated. The Regime Agents also took plenty of photos of me and anyone else who was carrying the Lion and Sun Flag. I also spoke to an elderly lady who told me her 80 year old husband had been beaten by these Regime Agents last Tuesday and had to be hospitalized. For a moment I felt like I was in Iran. How could such things happen in Canada??

If this is the way Basij and Regime Agents deal with protestors in Canada, I can only imagine what they do to people who are actually inside Iran. I will be attending another protest today with my Lion and Sun and a Canadian Flag, and I am going even though I know there is a great chance I might be assaulted for carrying those Flags.

My only two questions are where is the Canadian Government and the Toronto Police when pro-democracy demonstrators are being threatened and intimidated by Regime Agents? Why are they watching passively and not protecting their citizens? The only thing I want is freedom and democracy in Iran, why do I have to be threatened for that and feel unsafe in a country that I love and has been my home for more than 15 years?

Down with the Islamic Regime in Iran
Long Live Freedom and Democracy in Iran

By: Sayeh Hassan

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