x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Protests outside consulate in Dubai

More than 200 people gathered outside the Iranian consulate in Dubai in further protest against the result of Iran's presidential election.

Iranians in Dubai protesting against the Iranian presidential election outside the Consulate General of Islamic Republic of Iran office in Dubai.
Iranians in Dubai protesting against the Iranian presidential election outside the Consulate General of Islamic Republic of Iran office in Dubai.

DUBAI // More than 200 people gathered outside the Iranian consulate in Dubai yesterday in further protest against the result of Iran's presidential election. For two hours, from around 9am, they chanted slogans against Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the re-elected president, and waved banners saying "Where is my vote?" The protest followed a similar gathering of about 60 demonstrators on Sunday and dispersed in response to a police warning at about 11am. However, around 100 people returned in the late afternoon to continue voicing their objections to what they claim was a rigged election result.

During the later protest, what appeared to be teargas was released into the crowd, causing temporary physical distress to people nearby, but otherwise it had little effect. It was not clear who was responsible and police denied any knowledge of the incident. Supporters of Mir Hossein Mousavi, the opposition candidate who stood against Mr Ahmadinejad, had gathered to say they wanted their voices heard and their votes counted. "They cheated in the elections," said Zeina, a 26-year-old Iranian living in Dubai. "We don't want him to be president, and it is very clear that they changed our votes."

Referring to violent clashes between protesters and police in Tehran, she added: "We are supporting the people who are being attacked in Iran for this, for being against these results." Parsa, another demonstrator, said: "This is the least we can do to support the people who are being beaten in Iran. "We want to show them that they are not alone... We are asking for a re-election, not a regime change. It's a shame that we have to hide our faces in order to voice our frustrations," he added.

Demonstrators, wearing green scarves and covering their mouths and faces with masks to conceal their identities, pumped their fists in the air as they chanted "Mousavi! Mousavi! Get us back our votes!" and "Ahmadine! Leave Iran!". Standing in the searing heat, protesters waved placards saying "We wrote Mousavi, they read Ahmadinejad" and "Ahmadinejad's logic: 2 x 2 = 10". Crowd members included people with their children, as well as others with their colleagues, family members and students.

"Ahmadinejad is telling everyone that everything is fine with the elections, and we want to show the world that it is not," said Ali Meshki. "Where have the millions of votes that we cast gone?" As the morning protest picked up momentum, about 30 police turned up with riot vans. They made several early attempts to disperse the crowd, claiming the protesters did not have permission for their demonstration, but the crowd stood firm.

"They are holding a demonstration without having the necessary permissions," said Lt Col Ahmad Al Mansoori, head of the emergency department with Dubai Police, who was trying to secure the area. "Everyone has limits, and this is the reaction to what has happened in Iran," said Fariborz, another demonstrator. "We are here to voice our concern, to raise the issue of a recount, and to show that the elections have been a fraud."

Other protesters pushed for more than just a re-election, but for a complete change in the regime. "We are protesting to trigger a coup d'état," said Mussoud, a 42-year-old Iranian. "We have been living with a dictatorial regime for the last 30 years. We want our voices to be heard outside of Iran and to gain support." nsamaha@thenational.ae