Southland Iranians do their part in protest
As authorities in Tehran have blocked opposition websites, jammed satellite TV channels and banned foreign journalists from covering demonstrations against last week's disputed elections, Iranians living in the U.S. have rushed to fill the communications gap.
Iranian students and exiles here are flooding Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and their e-mail distribution lists with footage of bloodied protesters and other snippets gleaned from friends and relatives back home. And they are serving as conduits for information among supporters of Iran's presidential challenger, Mir-Hossein Mousavi, who cannot reach each other through text messaging.
An Iranian engineering student at USC described how her friends in Iran were struggling to confirm if and when a massive march to Tehran's Freedom Square would take place Monday. They couldn't access websites sympathetic to Mousavi, but the students here could. So she relayed the details of the march to everyone she knew through e-mail -- and if that didn't work, called their land lines.
On Wednesday night, hundreds of expatriates in the L.A. area, home to one of the largest Iranian American communities in the U.S., gathered at major intersections in Westwood and Irvine to protest the violent crackdown on protesters challenging President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's reelection as fraud.
-- Alexandra Zavis and Raja Abdulrahim