Many of those taking part in the protest had placards handing around their neck with photographs and short descriptions of some of those held in Iranian prisons, including teachers, journalists, lawyers and human rights activists. The protest for human rights in Iran took place today in anticipation of May Day - International Workers Day. Green Wave Voice is a part of the Iranian opposition freedom movement against the religious dictatorship in Iran which arose following the 2009 Iranian presidential election, where opposition voters accused the Iranian government, led by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, of rigging the vote, announcing they had won with a two thirds majority, while Mir Hossein Mousavi, the leading opposition candidate claimed that he had been the winner.
As I was finishing photographing the protest, which had been taking place for around half an hour, a police officer came to ask if the protesters had applied for permission to protest, which they had not. She told them they could not protest without having notified the police in advance. I was standing next to her listening to the conversation and to my surprise she asked me if I had any questions. I asked her under which law she felt they needed permission and she replied 'Section 11 of the Public Order Act'. I told her that I understood that this only applied to processions and not to static protests such as this, and she assured me that this was not the case, and pulling out a small printed legal guide from her pocket she read out the following:
"Written notice shall be given in accordance with this section of any proposal to hold a public procession intended—
(a)to demonstrate support for or opposition to the views or actions of any person or body of persons,
(b)to publicise a cause or campaign, or
(c)to mark or commemorate an event,
unless it is not reasonably practicable to give any advance notice of the procession."
I pointed out to her that this is clearly about processions, and not about assemblies or static protests such as this and after a few seconds she felt she had to contact a superior officer to check on the law. I'd taken the pictures I wanted and left before she got her answer.