Iran. Mahsa Amini’s death sparks protests in Canada

Protesters across Canada and around the world stood side by side on Saturday in solidarity with women’s rights and freedoms in Iran, as the country enters its third consecutive week of turbulent protests sparked by the death of a woman 22 years old in police custody. .

From Vancouver to Halifax, tens of thousands took to Canadian streets this weekend. In Richmond Hill, Ont., protesters took to Yonge Street, ending with a rally outside a library, some holding signs with slogans including “Free Iran”.

In Halifax, hundreds marched through the streets, waving flags and signs, demanding justice.

“All they want is humanitarian rights,” Iranian-Canadian Siavesh Farrahi told CTV News Atlantic. “We want women’s rights. So that’s all we want, and we need the support of the Canadian people.

In addition to the rallies here in Canada, people demonstrated in major cities around the world. Chants could be heard from London to Sydney.

And at each gathering, a name was repeated: Mahsa Amini.

Amini is the 22-year-old Kurdish-Iranian woman who died last month after being detained by the Islamic Republic’s vice police.

She was arrested simply because her headscarf was allegedly too loose – a violation of the strictly enforced Islamic dress code.

“It really breaks my heart when I think about the situation, because she had her whole life ahead of her,” Diako Aili, Amini’s cousin, told CNN.

Amini’s death in police custody sparked a violent public protest in Iran, which began at Amini’s funeral and spread to all of Iran’s 31 provinces, with protesters demanding the downfall of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Many of the protesters are women, who are often seen boldly removing their hijab in defiance of the strict laws that were used to arrest Amini. Women are required to cover their hair in public in Iran, and so some of the protests have seen protesters burning their hijabs and cutting their hair in public.

But that challenge sparked a harsh response from Iranian security forces. Amnesty International said the government crackdown resulted in the death of at least 52 people and the injury of hundreds more.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi calls the protests unacceptable chaos that must be suppressed.

He also alleges that they are fueled by the self-interest of foreign countries like the United States.

But those who have joined today’s global protests say they stand in solidarity not just with Iranian women, but with all who have been denied human rights.

“As the Iranian regime shuts down the internet in the country and indiscriminately kills protesters, the Iranian people have repeatedly asked for the international community to be their voice and amplify their demands,” said Iranian Canadians for Justice and Rights. man in a press release for The Toronto Walk. “This event is meant to echo their voice.”

“It’s not just about the hijab, it’s about the body – they want to control and oppress all women, control the country,” activist Azin Rezaeian said at a rally in Ottawa earlier this week. .

As for today’s global protests, it is estimated that people in over 150 cities took part – a massive demonstration in support of those fighting for freedom in Iran.

With files from CNN, CTV News Toronto and CTV News Atlantic.