TURLOCK — Robert Davood left Iran 10 years ago. But friends in his homeland stay in touch and share with him their desperate situation.
The country has been rife with civil unrest since last summer's re-election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that many say was rigged. Security forces killed dozens of protesters in the ensuing months.
"Every day they are killing many, many people over there," Davood said.
Davood, 40, and some other supporters organized a protest in Turlock for Sunday to show support for the opposition in their homeland.
Davood estimated that 2,000 people will show up Sunday, the second such effort after a similar event in June.
He said he felt he needed to do something after hearing about how dangerous it is to protest in Iran.
"I have my friends over there, calling me, sending me e-mails," Davood said. "They're asking for freedom."
Turlock is home to a large and growing Iranian community, mostly composed of Assyrian and Chaldean Christians who have fled the Islamic republic because of political persecution.
Davood said he appreciates some efforts the United States government has made, but that more needs to be done.
"President Obama spoke with the Iranian government and said it is not fair to kill people because they are asking for freedom," Davood said. "Those people need to sit down and talk."
Davood said he also is grateful he lives somewhere people aren't afraid to speak their mind.
"It's easy here because we have free speech," he said. "Over there, they can't even say whatever they want. They open their mouth, (the government) just shoots them."
Despite the distance, Davood said he is eager to show solidarity with his countrymen.
"They need help," he said "We try to support from here, to show them that we are here and we are together."
Bee staff writer Patty Guerra can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2343.