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Hundreds gather in Westwood to protest Iran election

June 20, 2009 | 12:02 pm

Protest Hundreds of demonstrators have gathered in front of the Federal Building in Westwood today, the latest in a string of local protests over allegations of voter fraud in the June 12 Iranian election.

Demonstrators are holding signs that read “stop the killing” in a showing of solidarity for protesters in Iran who are facing a violent crackdown against challenges to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's reelection.

“I personally feel this is [a] movement. It’s an awakening,” said a 28-year-old USC student with family in Iran. “It’s not going to go away by cracking down on people.”

The controversy has brought together a cross-section of the expatriate community in the Los Angeles area, home to one of the largest Iranian American communities in the U.S. Westwood protesters include recent immigrants and expatriates who left Iran as children. 

The demonstration, scheduled to run until 1 p.m., was organized by word-of-mouth and through messages on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Iranian students and exiles in Southern California have been using the Internet to relay news about the protest movement to friends and relatives in Iran, where authorities have tried to cut off the supply of information by blocking opposition websites, jamming satellite TV channels and banning journalists.

-- Phil Willon

Photo: Demonstrators line Wilshire Blvd. at Veteran Ave. in Westwood in a display of solidarity with the people of Iran who believe their presidential election was rigged. Credit: Los Angeles Times