“Iran is our country, Cyrus is our father,” the protesters chanted. According to the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), they also called out, “clerical rule is synonymous with only tyranny, only war,” and, “freedom of thought cannot take place with beards,” reportedly a reference to the theocratic leaders currently in power.
A video is purported to show Iranians shouting, “forget about Syria, think about us.”
Prior to the October 28 protest, members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and other Iranian authorities tried to tamp down the the demonstrations with rumors that the city had been completely shut down. This included canceling tours to the site, sealing off roads to Pasargadae, and even shutting down the Internet there two days prior to the rally. Residents in and near the city were reportedly told that they were not permitted to have guests during the period marking the occasion of King Cyrus’s birth, reports the NCRI.
King Cyrus is considered the father of international human rights by many Iranians. The discovery of the Cyrus Cylinder around 559 B.C. contained the first known charter of human rights.
The Shah of Iran’s twin sister, the late Princess Ashraf Pahlavi, presented the United Nations with a replica of the Cyrus Cylinder in 1971. It’s kept at the U.N.’s New York headquarters and is promoted as “an ancient declaration of human rights.”
Shahin Gobadi, who works with the Foreign Affairs Committee of the NCRI, in a written statement regarding the protests, said, “None of these schemes could prevent the gathering from taking place. The long line of vehicles and the large scope of the participants were clear indications of the Iranian people’s hatred towards the regime. This regime is incapable of standing up against the Iranian people’s desire and will to achieve democracy and popular sovereignty.”
It’s unclear whether or not authorities will impose punishments on the participants in the rally on Friday.
An Iranian activist who is involved with the Constitutional Party of Iran, Arash Razi, said, “it’s unbelievable that the regime tried very hard to intimidate and scare everyone, but their efforts did not stop the people.” Razi also runs Mehr-e-Iran, a Persian and English-language newspaper out of Los Angeles. He told Breitbart News, “this is very good news about Iran and for the people of Iran and the world.” He said he believes that this is the largest gathering of Iranian people since the revolution took place 37 years ago. He said, “I think this is even bigger than the riots following the fraudulent reelection of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.”
Two replicas of Iran’s original flag, over 2,500 years old, bearing the lion and sun (shir-o-khorshid) were carried throughout the crowd.
People from Kurdistan, Azarbeijan, Balochistan, and Iranians of Arab descent were also among the protesters.