Flags at Local Iran Street Protest Spark Debate

Alexandra Zavis and Paloma Esquivel blog in the LA Times that the appearance of the pre-Islamic Revolution
Iranian flag at U.S. rallies “is stirring tension between Iranian
expatriates who come out to express solidarity with protests at home
against the re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.”

As Christopher Victorio's photos for the Weekly show, that flag was everywhere Wednesday afternoon just outside the District at Tustin Legacy shopping plaza at the intersection of Barranca Parkway and Jamboree Road. (See all of Victorio's shots on the ocweekly.com slideshow.)


The appearance of the same flag at
demonstrations in Los Angeles has prompted younger protesters wearing
green T-shirts and arm bands in support of presidential challenger
Mir-Hossein Mousavi to move across the street, report the Times tag-teamers.
Invitations to an LA candlelight vigil on Facebook and other sites
warned, “No flags allowed–if anyone brings any flag they will be asked

Like the country's current flag, the former one contains horizontal
bands of green, white and red. But the emblem in the middle contains a
lion, sun and sword, rather than the four crescents and sword
introduced by the Islamic regime in 1980. The fear is that it harkens back to the Iranian monarchy under the
Shah. Thus, pro-Ahmadinejad forces can use the flag to tarnish the motives of pro-democracy protesters within Iran by saying the outsiders are Shah royalists.

As one Irvine protester said while pleading with local flag-wavers to put the flags away Wednesday, “We are here to support the people who are fighting for their
freedom in Iran, not to support any regime.”

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