Protests against the Iranian government were held across the United States and Europe
By Sarah Rumpf
Around the world, protesters have taken to the streets in solidarity in a show of international support for demonstrators facing a violent government crackdown in Iran, sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in the custody of that country’s morality police.
Amini was arrested on Sept. 13 in Tehran for “inappropriate attire” and died three days later in the hospital, sparking waves of protests in which more than 200 people have died, including teenage girls.
On the U.S. National Mall, thousands of women and men of all ages — donning green, white and red, the colors of the Iran flag — chanted. “Be scared. Be scared. We are one in this,” some shouted, ahead of the group’s march to the White House. “Say her name! Mahsa!”
Iranians from all over the Washington, D.C., area attended the demonstrations, some of whom traveled from Toronto to participate. They were organized by grassroots activists from across the United States.
The largest concentration of Iranians outside of Iran can be found in Los Angeles, where a crowd of protesters formed a slow-moving procession along blocks of a closed downtown street. They waved hundreds of Iranian flags at the horizon, turning it into an undulating wave of red, white, and green as they chanted for the overthrow of the Iranian government.
They all cried out in unison, “We want freedom.
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Attorney Shooka Scharm was sporting a T-shirt that read “Women, Life, Freedom” in both English and Farsi. Her parents fled the Iranian revolution and she was born in the United States.
In Iran “women are like a second-class citizen, and they are sick of it,” Scharm said.
She said women can be arrested for wearing the wrong makeup color, historically important women are omitted from books and they have few rights in matters such as divorce and child custody. Iranian women “are standing up to unbelievable odds for basic human rights.”
The Biden administration has said it condemns the brutality and repression against the citizens of Iran and that it will look for ways to impose more sanctions against the Iranian government if the violence continues.
Last month at the United Nations General Assembly, President Biden alluded to the protest over Amini’s death and said the U.S. stood with the “brave women of Iran who right now are demonstrating to secure their basic rights.”
In a press release on Oct. 3, Biden said the U.S. was working to make it easier for Iranians to access the internet, “including through facilitating greater access to secure, outside platforms and services.”
More anti-government demonstrations occurred in Tehran on Saturday at a number of universities. Following Amini’s passing on September 16, the nation-wide movement in Iran initially concentrated on the country’s obligatory hijab covering for women. Since the 2009 Green Movement over disputed elections, the Iranian protests have grown into the Islamic Republic’s biggest threat.
Nearly 40,000 people showed up in Berlin to show support for the women and activists who have been leading the movement in Iran for the past few weeks. The Woman’s Life Freedom Collective organized the demonstrations in Berlin, which started at the Victory Column in the Tiergarten park and continued as a march through the heart of the city.
Some of the protesters there claimed to have traveled from other parts of Germany and other European nations to show their support.
“It is so important for us to be here, to be the voice of the people of Iran, who are killed on the streets,” said Shakib Lolo, who is from Iran but lives in the Netherlands. “And this is not a protest anymore, this is a revolution, in Iran. And the people of the world have to see it.”
In Paris, thousands of people gathered to show their support for Iranian citizens.
In October, Iranians, French feminist groups and politicians were among those who joined the gathering at Republique Plaza before marching through eastern Paris.
“Woman, Life, Liberty!” the crowd chanted. Some banners read: “Freedom for Iranian women,” or “No to Obligatory Hijab” or “#Mahsa Amini.”
The Associated Press contributed to this post.
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