Middle East

Protest outside Iranian embassy in Canberra

Australia's Iranian community and trade unionists have joined forces toprotest against Tehran's bloody crackdown on peaceful protesters inIran.

Australia's Iranian community and trade unionists have joined forces to protest against Tehran's bloody crackdown on peaceful protesters in Iran.

About 250 people took their message to the Iranian embassy in Canberra on Friday, calling for "Freedom in Iran" and "Death to the Dictator".

There is growing international concern about the situation in Iran following the disputed presidential election earlier this month.

Since the June 12 presidential election results were announced, the Iranian capital has been rocked by violent protests that have seen at least 17 people killed and many more taken into custody.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has described Tehran's crackdown on its citizens as a "travesty of democracy".

Protestors travelled interstate

Members of Australia's Iranian community travelled from Melbourne to attend the demonstration in the Canberra suburb of O'Malley.

They carried placards in memory of Neda Agha-Soltan, who was seen bleeding to death in an internet video of street violence in Tehran.

She has become a poignant symbol for the opposition challenging President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's disputed re-election.

Akbar Eghbali, who came to Australia from Iran about 30 years ago, told AAP many Iranians had been waiting decades to have a chance to make their demands for freedom.

"All (Tehran) is doing (is) promoting terrorism around the world and they're destroying all the youth," he said.

"The people of Iran thought they would have a long way to go before they had this chance, before the young generation turned the wheel against the dictators."

New found confidence

Mr Eghbali said that even a fortnight ago many in the Iranian community would have been too scared to publicly take a stand outside the embassy.

"Two weeks ago nobody would have dreamed of making this kind of demonstration but they have no fear any more because they have seen the worst," he said.

Busloads of unionists travelled from Sydney for the protest, continuing their long-running campaign against Tehran's policy of locking up workers fighting for their rights.

Kim Sattler, the assistant secretary of Unions ACT, told the crowd she had given a letter to police to hand over to the Iranian ambassador, who refused to come out.

It expressed unions' concerns about recent violence and the practice of locking up unionists in Iran.

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