Thousands of Iran opposition activists hold protest in Paris

Thousands of Iran opposition activists hold protest in Paris
2 min read
02 July, 2023
Saturday's rally took place after a police ban on the protest was overturned by the Paris administrative court.
Protesters gathered in the French capital after a Paris court green-lit the rally [Getty]

Thousands of Iranians protested in Paris on Saturday against the Islamic Republic, in a rally organised by the exiled National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) opposition group.

The protesters came from across Europe, travelling by bus from Germany, Poland and Scandinavian states, according to AFP.

Banners saying "Free Iran" were draped on vehicles, while protesters waved the former flag of Shah-era Iran.

"We do not want the mullahs' regime or the Shah's regime. Iranians do not want to go back. We are moving towards democracy," a NCRI member told AFP.

Another attendee, journalist and former prisoner Masoumeh Raouf, said: "I am here to represent the voice of the Iranian people, so that the voice of the people can be heard."

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The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) is the de facto political wing of the People's Mujahedin (MEK) - a controversial organisation regarded as a cult by detractors.

The group is far from having universal support among the Iranian diaspora but it does enjoy the support of several high-profile right-wing former US and European officials, including Mike Pence and Liz Truss.

Last week, Paris police said the rally would be banned due to the risk of clashes with other Iranian factions.

The ban was overturned by the Paris administrative court, which ruled that the ban was "a serious and manifestly illegal attack on the freedom to demonstrate".

Police in Paris are currently stretched after days of riots that broke out over the killing of 17-year-old Nahel M. during a police traffic stop last week.