Protesters on Wednesday descended on the area near the United Nations, some decrying the presence of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and others condemning that of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
More than 400 protesters marched in front of the Iranian Mission to the United Nations, chanting, “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Ahmadinejad has to to go.”
They carried pictures of Ahmadinejad with his face marked by a large X.
“Murderer at the United Nations” and “Free the political prisoners in Iran” read some of the banners.
Gadhafi spoke earlier Wednesday at the U.N. General Assembly’s annual session, and Ahmadinejad was scheduled for later Wednesday evening.
“I am very angry,” said Anna Amiri, an Iranian émigré who traveled from Dallas, Texas, to attend the rally, which was about seven blocks from the United Nations.
“We voted for Moussavi to have a change,” she said, referring to Mir Hossein Moussavi, who lost Iran’s disputed June 12 presidential election.
Amiri held a picture of Neda, a young woman whose killing at a political rally was captured on video and seen around the world.
She said Iranian government security forces attacked her sister at a recent rally in Tehran, forcing her to seek treatment at a hospital.
Others, including Libyan expatriates and relatives of victims of the Pan Am Flight 103 — which exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland, in December 1988 — gathered near the United Nations to protest Gadhafi’s appearance ahead of his speech.
Gadhafi stirred up anger recently when he permitted a large welcome for Abdelbeset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi, the Libyan convicted of the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103.
Al Megrahi was released by Scottish authorities on compassionate medical grounds, and the celebration of his homecoming infuriated some families of the Pan Am 103 victims.
“When they released this prisoner, there was a worldwide outrage,” said Frank Dugan, president of the Victims of Flight Pan Am 103.
“It put us on the front pages again. We were old news; we’re a 20-year-old story; most people don’t even know what Pan Am 103 was,” he said.
“But now, everyone knows, they know what an outrage it was.”
Near the protest against the Libyan leader, supporters of the Nation of Islam held an event welcoming Gadhafi.