Demonstrations are escalating in Iran sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini, a Kurdish woman who died while in moral police custody after being detained earlier this month for allegedly wearing her hijab loosely.
The 22-year-old’s death sparked outrage in Ottawa’s Iranian community with one woman cutting off sections of her hair in front of hundreds of demonstrators during a downtown rally.
“Mahsa is not the first woman to receive this. It’s a breaking point,” said Ramona Karimi, who joined dozens of demonstrators in downtown streets to raise awareness of what they say are crackdowns by the Iranian government.
“We need our leaders to listen and to help Iran,” he said. “The only way Iran can bypass this internet censorship and really get somewhere with noise and protest is if the whole world helps.”
Progressive Conservative MPP for Carleton Goldie Ghamari also joined the crowd, writing on Twitter “honored to join the hundreds of people in Ottawa who came out to support the people of Iran. Say your name. Be their voice.”
Cries for “women, life and freedom” grew. Many in the community said they will continue to raise awareness about the ongoing crisis and speak up for those who cannot.
“No one deserves to be treated like that and a young woman at that age with so many hopes and dreams being put in that position is unacceptable,” said presenter Maryan Kayamkar.
Human rights groups say at least 54 people have been killed by Iranian security forces while hundreds have been detained and beaten. Meanwhile the Iranian president threatened to “deal decisively” with demonstrators who grew in numbers in cities across the country.