GOVERNOR DAVID PATERSON, NOBEL LAUREATE ELIE WIESEL, AND FORMER MAYOR RUDY GIULIANI RALLY TOGETHER WITH MORE THAN TEN THOUSAND NEW YORKERS TO STAND FOR FREEDOM IN IRAN
Thursday, September 24, 2009, New York, NY — More than ten thousand participants gathered together outside the United Nations Plaza to demand freedom for all Iranians. Such prominent New Yorkers as Governor David Paterson, Elie Wiesel, and Rudy Giuliani showed their solidarity with a range of other elected officials, religious leaders, and representatives of many ethnic communities to send a united message of hope.
More than 40 organizations have come together to create the Stand for Freedom in Iran Coalition, which demands freedom of assembly, expression, and the press; the immediate cessation of human-rights abuses and the release of demonstrators from prisons and protection for minority communities; prosecution of those responsible for the murder of Neda Agha-Soltan and many other victims; full compliance and cooperation by Iran with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and Security Council resolutions, including an end to Iran’s uranium enrichment; and an end to the incitement of genocide and the support of terrorism.
Speakers included New York State Governor David Paterson; former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani; New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli; New York City Comptroller William C. Thompson, Jr.; New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver; New York City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn; Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel; Canadian Member of Parliament Irwin Cotler; Stuart Appelbaum, president, Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union; J. David Cox, national secretary-treasurer, American Federation of Government Employees; The Very Reverend Dr. James A. Kowalski, dean, Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine; Iranian student activist and former prisoner Hassan Zarezadeh Ardeshir and Iranian political activists Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi, Shohreh Nazar, and Roya Teimouri; and former Sudanese refugee and human-rights activist Simon Deng.
“Ahmadinejad is the Number One Holocaust denier in the world,” said Nobel LaureateElie and called on world leaders to shun him. “He’s unworthy of your attention; he’s unworthy of being your colleague. He’s in fact an enemy of humanity.”
“Thank you all for coming here, for this great cause today,” said New York State Governor David Paterson. “We will not stand for any more of President Ahmadinejad.
“I hope he lives to see the day when he and his kind are held in judgment by a free Iran,” said New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, about Ahmadinejad.
“The regime stands against everything we value,” said Former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani about the toll of the repressive government under Ahmadinejad.
“We cannot remain silent when, in our city, there is a leader of a regime who arrests innocent civilians, imprisons students, brutalizes protesters, tortures dissidents, abuses women, executes children, sponsors terror groups, threatens to annihilate sovereign nations, and violates international resolutions while developing nuclear weaponry,” said Janice W. Shorenstein, president of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York. “The Stand for Freedom in Iran Coalition reflects the broad sentiment among Americans of many faiths, ethnicities, and walks of life that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is not welcome in New York.”
“We support the right for all people from all nations to have the freedoms we have as Americans,” said John M. Shapiro, president of UJA-Federation of New York. “We publicly condemn the actions of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran as he appears before the United Nations. We cannot tolerate his abuse of his fellow Iranians nor the threat he poses.”
Additionally, there are national rallies being held in Washington, D.C.; Detroit, Michigan; Los Angeles, California; Miami, Florida; St. Louis, Missouri; and Chicago, Illinois; and throughout the world in Vienna, Paris, Germany, Cape Town, Buenos Aires, Holland, and Norway.
Participating organizations include the Progressive American-Iranian Committee; Jewish Community Relations Council of New York; New York City Central Labor Council: AFL-CIO; UJA-Federation of New York; Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union; American Federation of Teachers; United Federation of Teachers; American Federation of Government Employees; NAACP-New York Conference; The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine; National Puerto Rican Coalition; Alliance of Iranian Women; Iran Human Rights Documentation Center; Foundation for Democracy in Iran; Korean American Public Affairs Committee; Turkish American Community in New York; Chinese Community Relations Council; National Inter-agency Task Force on Iran; and more than 40 other non-Jewish and Jewish organizations.