Just outside Downing Street, the residence of the British Prime Minister and the center of government in the U.K., Iranian opposition activists staged a mock execution both to commemorate the 1988 massacre of resistance members and to protest the use of execution in Iran.
The three-day demonstration began on Saturday, the anniversary of the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners, most of whom were associated with the People’s Mojahedin of Iran (PMOI, or MEK) by Iran in 1988. The associated five-month purge was initiated by Khomeini against those deemed to be “against velayat e faqih” (Khomeini religious ruling in Iran ).
The PMOI is now part of an umbrella group, the National Council of the Resistance of Iran (NCRI), who have launched protests against visiting Iranian politicians, staged hunger strikes, and tried to pressure political leaders to not conduct business with Iran until the country ends their use of executions and repression. The Free Iran rally, in which the NCRI took place, held on July 9 in France, attracted more than 100,000 attendees.
The protest outside Downing Street, which was organized by Iranian Communities , not only coincided with the anniversary of the 1988 purges, but also came just on the heels of a series of hastily organized executions of Sunni Muslim prisoners in Iran last weekend.
Says the NCRI of the demonstration, “The hunger strikers and protesters are urging the UK government to categorically condemn the incessant cruel hangings that are taking place unabatedly in Iran and act with its Western allies to press for an immediate halt to the executions and torture in Iran.”
“No matter how hard this is for us, it is nothing compared to the conditions they are facing,” said Omid Ebrahim, 18, of the hunger strike in an interview with the Evening Standard.
Conservative MP Matthew Offord extended some words of support to the protestors:
“I would like to send my best wishes to all of you who are protesting against the horrific events we have seen happening in Iran over this past few weeks.
“The mass execution of Sunni political prisoners is deeply disturbing and has rightly been condemned.
“A few weeks ago, I spoke to over 100,000 people who attended the annual National Council for Resistance in Iran conference in Paris.
“It was a great opportunity for myself and fellow parliamentarians to express our concerns over these events and we will continue to stand with you all and highlight your concerns in Parliament.”
Prominent British lawyer Malcolm Fowler has offered support to the Iranian Resistance and has also spoken in favor of recognizing the 1988 massacres, saying “It’s an appalling atrocity that has gone a long time unrecognized by the international community despite protests by Amnesty international in 2008 and a unanimous vote of protest by the Canadian parliament in 2011.”