x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Hundreds gather for candlelit vigil

More than 300 people assembled in a candlelit vigil last night for those killed over the past few days in Iran during election protests.

Iranian expatriates gather near Dubai's Jumeirah Beach Residence last night for a candlelit vigil in remembrance of those who have died protesting Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's election.
Iranian expatriates gather near Dubai's Jumeirah Beach Residence last night for a candlelit vigil in remembrance of those who have died protesting Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's election.

DUBAI // More than 300 people assembled in a candlelit vigil last night for those killed over the past few days in Iran during election protests. The gathering outside Jumeirah Beach Residence was the largest the Iranian opposition here has managed since the outcome of the election was announced. The protesters sat on the beach in silence, holding candles that flickered in the breeze. There were no masks, no placards, and no signs - just green ribbons tied around their wrists. "We are done with voicing our concern to the Iranian establishment," said Masoud, an Iranian present at the vigil. "We just want to gather here for the world to witness our solidarity. We are not interested in shouting slogans. This is not about Mousavi, it is so much more than that." Another protester, Pedro, added: "Before we used to go to the protests in order to take back our votes, but today we are here for the memory of those who died. "Over there [in Iran] they are not safe. The vote is no longer important, their lives are." The focus of the gathering was a shrine to Neda Agha Soltan, 27, whose death was shown around the world on the internet, and, in her name, all the protesters who have died. "She was just a bystander, and she was killed by random shooting," said Maryam, 50. "We hope to provide some kind of support from outside Iran." A bottle with messages from the protesters was thrown into the Gulf in the hope that it might eventually wash up on the Iranian shore. The vigil was an impromptu event, organised via text message and Facebook. Similar events in other countries are planned for today. nsamaha@thenational.ae