Protesters show support for Barnet hunger strikers

6 10 2009

http://www.times-series.co.uk/resources/images/1059569/?type=display

NEARLY 300 protesters gathered outside the US Embassy on Saturday to show their support for 20 Anglo-Iranian hunger strikers.

The fasters, from across Barnet, have refused food for nearly ten weeks in an attempt to convince UN and US forces to help three dozen fellow Iranians taken hostage from a refugee camp in Iraq.

Crowds of supporters packed Grosvenor Square between 6pm and 8pm to witness the posting of an open letter to US President Barack Obama calling for his help securing the refugees’ release.

They marched with placards, chanted slogans and made speeches in support of the 36 members of Iranian opposition group the People’s Mujahideen of Iran (PMOI), who were taken hostage from Camp Ashraf in July following a raid by Iraqi forces.

They have since reportedly been taken to a private prison near Baghdad, despite three rulings by an Iraqi judge to release them.

The strikers’ spokesman, Saeed Abed, 54, from Watford Way, Hendon, said: “Support is gaining momentum, but every day it gets more crucial to convince the authorities to take serious action.

“We really hope we can get a resolution to end all of this soon.

“It is obviously very costly to those involved, but their determination is absolutely incredble.”

Camp Ashraf has been home to 3,500 members of the PMOI since the 1980s, when the group settled there to have a base to operate against the Tehran Government.

The hunger strikers and PMOI supporters are calling for Iraqi forces to withdraw completely from the camp and allow residents access to lawyers, doctors, journalists and relatives.

They also want US forces to temporarily assume protection of Camp Ashraf until an international force can take over.


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