A human-rights and political campaigner camped in Yass on Saturday and Sunday, February 3–4 as part of his Melbourne–Canberra walk to voice the need to reform the current Iranian regime.
Mohammad Dadashai, who is on a refugee and humanitarian visa and spent four years in Australian immigration detention centres in 2011–15, said the walk was part of ‘#RESTART’, a worldwide movement, led by Seyed Mohammad Hosseini, for political reform in Iran.
Mr Dadashai pointed to the Iranian Government’s involvement and support of the Syrian regime as an example, among others, for the need for him to make his voice heard.
“It’s about the freedom of my country and about having a democracy like Australia,” Mr Dadashai said.
“The current Iranian government is a dictatorship that doesn’t like its people, where thousands and thousands of innocent people, including children and women, are killed.
“So the campaign is to support my people, the citizens of Iran,” he said.
The movement, with about 20 million followers, is described as “the biggest Iranian opposition movement to confront the corrupt Iranian regime in recent years”.
“We demand the Iranian regime step down from power and give Iran back to her people – Iranians are sick of dictatorship, oppression and corruption.”
Mr Dadashai will end his 620km walk at the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Canberra to “protest and say we don't want this regime anymore”.
“We want democracy and freedom – freedom of speech, free elections, advancement of women's rights, freedom of religion, removal of capital punishment, freedom of political association, freedom of the press,” he said.
“The embassy doesn't want to see this happening, but because it's here in Australia, I feel safe doing it.
“I’m glad to be here and to have the chance to protest in a safe way.”
Kindness, goodness, universal basic human rights are my religion.Mohammad Dadashai
Asked about the reception of his walk, Mr Dadashai said the people he had met so far have been “very welcoming”.
He pitched a tent on the driveway of a property on Yass Valley Way and thanked the residents for their support.
“Thank you their generosity for allowing me to camp here – they’ve been very kind to me,” he said.
Mr Dadashai said he would continue to “fight for freedom”.
“If you can, please pray for my people and keep the discussion going. It's a really hard fight, but not if all of the world stands up to support my people.
“Human rights is my religion. Kindness, goodness, universal basic human rights are my religion,” he said.
Mr Dadashai left Yass around 9am on Sunday.
Iran is an Islamic republic and the current president is Hassan Rouhani.
- More information about #RESTART: firstname.lastname@example.org