Tens of thousands rallied in "Piazza del Popolo" Rome's central square on Sunday 3 October to and to express support for press freedom all around the world and protest against Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's recent actions in having files law suites against 2 newspapers and spoken against the media.
Iranian students from Rome and Florence also joined the rally to condemn the closing of the newspapers and the jailing of their editors and writers in Iran. On 5 August 2009 Iranian officials shut down the office of the Association of Iranian Journalists in Tehran, just after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was sworn in for a second term. It is believed that the latest attempt has been to further intimidate and silence critical journalists. "After the elections in Iran some 40 reporters were arrested and were tortured by the regime." said an Iranian protestor. "some 30 still are in prison. Many newspapers were shut down without justifications". According to international reports Iran remains the world's leading jailer of journalists with at least 38 behind bars.
The rally in Rome was organized by the Journalists Union in Italy. Other major unions, leftist/socialist groups, the opposition party (PD), as well as many cultural and international organizations also participated to the event.
In the past the Italian government has taken tough positions against the government of the Islamic Republic: In May 2008 the Italian officials refused to receive Ahmadinejad on his visit to Rome for the UN Food Conference and described him as a "person who is no welcome". In September 2008 Prime Minister Berlusconi compared Ahmadinejad to Hitler. The Italian Government together with US, UK and France did not send any congratulation messages to Ahmadinejad after he was sworn in for presidency earlier this year and the foreign ministry issued n.70 urgent entry visas for the post election protestors offering them protection in Italy.
Eversince the disputed presidential elections in Iran and the crack down on protestors by the Islamic Republic government, Italian people, organizations and authorities have participated in many events and taken initiatives in Italy together with Iranians in solidarity with people in Iran. The Iranian students and community in Italy are planning to organize and participate in many other joint initiatives in future in order to support mutual causes and promote unity among people around the world.
Monday, October 5, 2009
by: saeed valadbaygi at 8:15 AM