Community holds campus vigil for victims in Iran

Students gathered around the Alma Mater late Thursday evening in a demonstration against the recent controversial reelection of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The protest, which began at 8 p.m., was composed of students of both Iranian and non-Iranian descent. About 70 to 80 students comprised the crowd to mourn those who were killed in the protests in Tehran, Iran.

Many of those at the protest were hesitant to reveal their names because they were not sure how safe they would be for participating in such an event.

One Iranian-born student said that he was protesting against a government that was not tolerant of any dissent.

“There were demonstrations at the university in Tehran,” said the man. “Even though they were peaceful protests, the whole university was attacked. Many students had died for speaking out against the election.”

Though the man did not personally know any of the people who were injured at the university, he had heard of others who were.

Two younger women who were a part of the demonstration at the Alma Mater knew of people who were killed in the raids on on the University of Tehran.

“This demonstration is a vigil for those who were injured both physically and emotionally in Iran,” said one of the women present. “I know five students from my undergraduate college in Iran who were killed in the middle of the night at the university.”

The two women said that they are both insulted by the re-election of President Ahmadinejad.

“We all went to vote on our campus,” said the second woman. “Most everyone who voted here voted for Mir Hussein Moussavi. We think that it was probably the same in Iran as well.”

The man and the two women both think it is unfair that Ahmadinejad was elected. Though the president does not make any major policy changes, said one of the women, it’s the little things that need to be changed.

“My mom, who is in Tehran, said that it was a very, very sad day for Iranians when they heard he won,” said the one woman regarding President Ahmadinejad. “The little things we want changed are the freedom of people to be in the streets, with no dress code, and without being harassed by the police.”

Iran’s Supreme Leader will address the nation Friday morning for the first time since the results of the election were announced.

“We are really waiting to hear what he has to say,” said one of the women. “Whatever he says will determine how it will be. He won’t explicitly call for a revote, but he will calmly say what he has to say to the Iranian people.”