Friday, April 10, 2009

Gays Rally at Iraq's UN Mission

Over Dozens of Deaths

There are two reports out from the demonstration today at the Iraqi Mission to the United Nations in New York City. The first is from Wayne Anderson, who operates the World of Wonder site:
I attended the NYC Rally for Gay Iraqis at the Iraq Mission to the U.N. on East 79th Street. It was a smaller and much more somber tone at today’s rally compared to the recent events I’ve attended in celebration of marriage equality, and for good reason. ...

Walter Armstrong, the organizer of the rally, called on President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton to hold al-Malaki accountable for the flagrant violations of international law. He also tried to deliver a letter to Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki at the door of the Mission, requesting that al-Maliki take immediate steps to condemn the anti-gay terrorism.

The police refused to allow him to deliver the letter which caused the somber protest to erupt into momentary anger, with protesters calling on the police to stand aside and allow him to deliver the letter.

In either case, the mission doors were shut tight and no one came in or out of the door during the entire rally.

And over at Joe.My.God., Joe has shared this report. He's also posted some video footage:

What would have been a relatively low-key demonstration turned somewhat ugly due to the NYPD, who at first refused to allow activists to stand on the public sidewalk in front of the Iraq Mission, then threatened to arrest anyone who attempted to ring the building's bell and deliver a formal letter of protest.

Reporter Andy Humm of Gay City News vehemently objected, shouting, "You can't ring a bell and deliver a LETTER in NYC?" Eventually two men appeared from inside and a man who identified himself as Yassar Mohammed accepted and read the letter but said he would have no official comment, as the Mission was observing "Great Friday."

A big round of thanks to all the New Yorkers who showed up for the action today. I'll do my part to spread the word about the rally, and share some images. These photos are from Wayne Anderson and his World of Wonder site:

A remembrance wreath lain at the steps of the Iraqi UN Mission,
surrounded by placards.

Brendan Fay, holding sign, and Walter Armstrong, reflected in mirror, contend with a member of the NYPD, at the Mission's door.

From the left: Walter Armstrong, with flowers and letter; Bill Dobbs, holding a sign; and Andy Humm of Gay City News, taking notes.

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