Paris, Apr. 05 Thousands of Iranians marched in downtown Paris today to protest the visit to France by the Iranian regimes President Mohammad Khatami.
The demonstration was organised by the French anti-racist movement, MRAP, and the Movement for Peace, two of the largest non-governmental organisations in France.
The long column of marchers filled the street between the historic landmark, La Bastille, and Place de la Nation. Organisers put the number of marchers at 8,000. The marchers waved banners condemning Frances policy of appeasement of the clerical state. Chants like Stop appeasing the mullahs drew the attention of passing crowds.
French Senator Jean-Pierre Michel told the thousands of cheering Iranians and French people, I have come here as a Parliamentarian to express my utter indignation at Khatamis visit to France and to call on the French government and the European Union to remove the Peoples Mojahedin from the list of terrorism organisations.
Protestors also held portraits of Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, the coalition of opponents of the clerical regime.
Moloud Aounit, Secretary General of MRAP, told the crowd, I have shame today that our government is welcoming on French soil the president of a barbaric regime that executes people in public, stones women to death, and even tortures people before hanging them. It is outrageous that our government is welcoming the president of this barbaric regime, but banned the lawful rally by Iranian opponents in Paris.
Aounit was referring to the French governments ban on a rally by Iranian exiles in Paris that was expected to draw up to 50,000 people on the anniversary of the Iranian revolution.
The Peoples Mojahedin (PMOI) is a member organisation of the National Council of Resistance of Iran and was listed as a terrorist organisation by the European Union in mid-2002, in what the European Unions then-Spanish leadership called a goodwill gesture to Tehran.
Yves Bonnet, the former head of the French counter-terrorism agency, strongly condemned Khatamis visit in his speech and called for the removal of the PMOI from the terrorism list.