“Women, life, freedom,” were the words chanted by more than 200 people from London, Ontario’s Iranian community who gathered at Western University on Thursday to protest the death of a girl in The generation that died while in the police force. custody.
Mahsa Amini, 22, died last week after being arrested in Tehran for wearing “inappropriate clothing.” The law enforcement officers who are called “moral police” in this country arrested Amin and they also touched him and saw his headscarf. He fell into a coma while in custody and eventually died.
Besat Zardosht, one of the organizers of the event, who came to Canada from Iran at the age of 12 said, “I have been beaten, I have been humiliated. My sister has been arrested because of the very unjust laws we have in Iran for the Incorrect hijabs.
Zardosht organized the demonstration in London as a way to stand up for women’s rights and the freedom of Iranians.
Zardosht said that a significant part of the demonstrations outside Iran comes from the perception that the Iranian government has blocked internet access in some parts of the country to prevent the protesters’ ability to organize and be heard internationally.
Participants at the event recounted Zardosht’s feelings, including the heartbreak he said he felt when he learned of Amini’s death.
Mo Akbari, a participant in support of the demonstration said “I am saddened because it is a woman’s right to choose whatever they want to wear, regardless of where they live. “On top of that, your clothes don’t have anything sensitive, or anything of that nature. There’s no reason for your arrest.”
Akbari has two daughters living in Toronto. He said he was proud of them and their right to wear what they saw fit in Canada.
‘That could be me’
Mahsa Manavi, 21, left Iran ten years ago. Moving that a young woman of the same age who shares her first name, was caught because of her clothes considered all personal to Manavi.
“That could have been me if I had gone back home,” he said. “It really broke my heart and I thought ‘This needs to change’ we want our freedom back.”
Manavi believes that women protesting in Iran show the government that Iranians have had enough and want control over themselves, she said.
Amini’s death has sparked widespread protests across the country and internationally calling for a change in the country’s hijab laws. Some women in Iran refuse to wear the hijab in public. Similar protests have taken place in Canadian cities including Calgary and Montreal.
A call to action
The common thread in the plan for the show is to demand change from Ottawa.
“World governments need to stop associating with the Iranian government and trying to appease them. For 40 years, the Iranian people have suffered, while foreign governments are trying to appease them,” Akbari added.
Bahram Zardosht, 19, believes that the fight for freedom is more important now than ever, especially for the younger generation of Iranians. He was saddened and disgusted when he heard about Amini’s death, he said.
“My friends, young men and women in Iran are not living, it is very sad for me because there is not much I can do from Canada,” he said.
“Mahsa’s death is like a trigger for all of us young people who feel that if they keep quiet, this will continue to happen.”
Police in Iran said last Thursday that Amini, who was arrested on September 13, was taken to hospital after reportedly suffering a heart attack while in custody.
Iranian authorities have said they will begin an investigation to determine the cause of his death.