Local Austin Activist to Rally With Nobel Laureates and Iranian Scholars at New York Hunger Strike

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Austin activist Bijan Afkami is joining the demonstration called by Iranian dissident Akbar Ganji at the United Nations headquarters July 25th. The effort is supported by Nobel laureates and and high profile peace activists Bishop Desmond Tutu, Joan Baez, Robert Redford, and Sean Penn. More activists across the globe are joining hourly.

Bijan Afkami, founder of Iran Democracy Plan in Austin, TX, will be present at the hunger strike called by Iranian dissident Akbar Ganji In New York from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday July 22nd through Saturday July 25th, 2009. The daily demonstration will occur at the Dag Hammerskold park at the corner of 47th and First Avenue adjacent to the United Nations.

Akbar Ganji has released a statement saying, "The goal of this hunger strike is to condemn the June 12th electoral coup, condemn widespread human right abuses and demand the release of all political prisoners." In addition, American actor/activist Robert Redford issued a statement on Washington D.C. television advocating the hunger strike. Redford says, "The hunger strike was one way of drawing world attention to the plight of political prisoners in Iran."

Strike4Iran.com is the official website of a newly formed coalition of leading Iranian intellectuals, pro-democracy activists and Iranian-American scholars that have answered Akbar Ganji's call to participate in the hunger strike in solidarity with Iran's Green Movement.

The Green Movement endorses the Principles of Self Determination for the Iranian people. There are three basic demands that are being endorsed by all participants:

1) Condemnation of the electoral coup of June 12, 2009 that returned Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to the Presidency.
2) Protest the killings, arrests and human abuses that have occurred in recent weeks.
3) Demand the immediate release of all political prisoners.

Afkami, an Iranian expatriate residing in Texas, says, "I am going to New York to express my outrage over the Violence the current regime has unleashed on the people of Iran. I am going to stand by and support the students and the people of Iran in their quest for freedom and democracy." Afkami, who experienced repression and imprisonment as a teenager, relates to the current troubles in Iran, and is concerned that international observers be allowed to monitor and assess those who are being illegally held.

"The Universal Human Rights Declaration has been violated by the current leaders, and the world needs to know. We are hoping to prompt the U.N. into action," said Afkami. "Join a rally in your community on Saturday July 25th. Join an unprecedented movement for citizen activism around the world."

For more information: contact
Christine Thompson, (512) 636-4388
Sylvia Benini, (512) 579-911






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