NEW YORK (AP) — As Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived in New York City for the United Nations General Assembly dozens of protesters demonstrated Sunday against his regime.

The protesters set up near Central Park and wore tape across their mouths to demonstrate what they said was the oppressive nature of the Iranian government.

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“So the tape is to show that anyone who opposes Ahmadinejad is silenced,” said Avi Posnick, regional coordinator of Stand With Us. “We’re here in solidarity with the people of Iran who’s voices cannot be heard.”

The nonprofit Israeli education group, Stand With Us, organized the rally to bring awareness to what they call human rights abuses in Iran.

Protester Sahand Khoshbaten, a spokesman for the No To Ahmadinejad Committee, said his group supports democratic regime change in Iran, “which is what the people want.”

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“We believe that by means of the people themselves and Iran’s main opposition group that we would be able to overthrow the Iranian government to establish democracy in that country,” Khoshbaten said.

The protest was one of many expected in the week ahead, including another scheduled for Thursday across from the UN.

On Sunday, Ahmadinejad met with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to discuss developments in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Middle East as well as efforts to resolve the dispute over Iran’s nuclear program, the U.N. spokesperson’s office said.

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