x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Opposition supporters in Dubai insist struggle must continue

Iranian residents in Dubai are feeling shocked and helpless in the aftermath of bloody protests in Tehran, which have left approximately 19 dead and several hundred injured.

DUBAI // Iranian residents in Dubai are feeling shocked and helpless in the aftermath of bloody protests in Tehran, which have left approximately 19 dead and several hundred injured. "I'm feeling so bad; I'm spending every minute with my eyes on the news," said Mahmoud, who has been present at protests held in Dubai over the past week. Although his parents are in a city outside of Tehran, the Iranian capital, he admitted that he is receiving more information being in Dubai, than his parents are in Iran. "There is a lack of internet, and the news is only the state channel. Yet from what I've seen here, the images, the videos, coming out of there from yesterday are simply horrific."

Opposition supporters here insist the struggle must continue. "What happened [Saturday] will make us stronger, and will put more pressure on the government," Mahmoud said. Although violence is not the aim of the opposition, nor its favoured candidate, the former prime minister Mir Hossein Mousavi, "he must continue. We must get the elections cancelled". "Every Iranian I know is mortified by this," another Iranian in Dubai, Parsa, said. "People are asking how are they going to go back to Iran and walk on the streets that our people have bled on? We know these streets; we recognise them."

According to Parsa, recent events have shown that the protest, which started as "where is my vote?" has now evolved to "stop killing our people". "This has been a true test for the Iranians and their patriotism," he said. "We never knew how much we loved our country until now. We are crying for people we don't even know." In Dubai, protests have been taking place almost every day, sometimes twice daily, in response to the actions of the Iranian government towards the protesters and Mousavi supporters. Yet they, too, have been faced with difficulties due to the restrictions imposed by the Government. Having run out of options of where to protest without being forced to disperse by the police, members of the group went to the United Nations and the ministry of interior yesterday to obtain permission to protest further.

In the meantime, protesters attended a volleyball match between Iran and Saudi Arabia held yesterday at the Nasr Club in Dubai, and whose footage was said to have been broadcast live in Iran. Although the demonstrators did not wave placards and shout slogans, they hoped such subtle messages as black clothing and green scarves and bracelets will show those in Iran that they support them and their cause.

"The least that will happen is that the players from Iran will see us and see that the people from here are standing peacefully behind our people," Parsa said. nsamaha@thenational.ae