Canadian demonstrators form ‘human chain’ in solidarity with Iran protesters


Scores of demonstrators lined the streets of Canadian cities from Halifax to Vancouver as a part of a worldwide “human chain” to indicate solidarity with ongoing anti-government protests in Iran.

In Toronto, stretches of Yonge Street had been flanked by crowds chanting “girls, life, freedom” and “say her title: Mahsa Amini,” who died on Sept. 16 after being detained for allegedly violating the nation’s strict Islamic costume code for ladies.

At a midtown intersection, automobiles blared their horns as they handed by demonstrators holding photos of family members who had been among the many victims of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752. On Jan. 8, 2020, 176 individuals, together with 55 Canadian residents, had been killed when Iran’s Revolutionary Guard shot down the Ukrainian airliner.

The occasions had been organized by the Association of Families of Flight PS752 Victims.

Arash Morattab, who misplaced his brother and sister-in-law in the crash, mentioned the victims of Flight 752 have widespread trigger with the protest motion that has rocked Iran for almost a month and a half in the face of harsh backlash from safety forces.

“We are all victims of a regime that began killing individuals from the primary days of them coming into energy, and this retains going till now,” mentioned Morattab. “They killed our beloved ones in January 2020, and now they kill different folks that battle for his or her rights.”

‘It’s not simply in regards to the hijab’

The battle for justice is especially resonant for ladies in Iran who proceed to be denied freedom, mentioned protester Sara Ahmadi. She mentioned she bumped into issues with the regime as a result of she wasn’t legally married to her common-law associate, who was killed in the airplane crash.

“Women have no rights in my nation,” Ahmadi mentioned. “It’s not simply in regards to the hijab. It’s about every part.”

Further north on Yonge Street, protesters chanted, “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Islamic regime should go” and “What resolution? Revolution” whereas drivers leaned on their horns in solidarity.

Protesters line Yonge Street in north Toronto on Saturday in assist of Iranians’ continued protests in opposition to the dying of Mahsa Amini in September. (Tyler Cheese/CBC)

“It’s unbelievable,” mentioned Mehrdokht Hadi, one of many organizers of the Toronto occasion. “Two months in the past I could not think about this crowd on the streets, now persons are not scared and persons are motivated.”

The protests in Iran sparked by Amini’s dying first centered on the state-mandated hijab, or head scarf for ladies, however shortly grew into requires the downfall of the nation’s theocracy.

At least 270 individuals have been killed and 14,000 have been arrested in the protests which have swept over 125 Iranian cities, in keeping with the group Human Rights Activists in Iran.

The Iranian authorities has repeatedly alleged that overseas powers have orchestrated the protests, however haven’t offered proof to assist the declare.

Members of the Iranian Canadian neighborhood and their supporters chant earlier than collaborating in a worldwide ‘human chain’ organized by the Association of Families of Flight PS752 Victims in Ottawa on Saturday. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

The protesters in Ottawa held indicators and flags, chanting ‘Canada, U.S., take motion, take motion’ and ‘Iranians made their selection, Canada be their voice.’ (Christian Paas-Lang/CBC)

Trudeau at Ottawa protest

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke on the protest in Ottawa, the place a number of hundred individuals gathered exterior the National Art Gallery earlier than transferring to stretch alongside each side of the Alexandra Bridge.

“Iranians made their selection, Canada be their voice,” and “Canada, U.S., take motion, take motion” featured prominently in the chants heard in the nation’s capital.

Trudeau instructed the gang that he and different Canadians stood with the protesters in Iran.

“They will not be forgotten. Their voices are being heard,” he mentioned.

WATCH | ‘We will not be stopping’: Trudeau tells protesters: 

‘Enough is sufficient,’ Trudeau says at Iran demonstration

As demonstrators gathered throughout Canada to indicate solidarity with these in Iran protesting the repression of girls’s rights following the dying of Mahsa Amini, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau instructed a crowd in Ottawa that ‘we aren’t stopping.’

The greatest applause for the prime minister got here when he mentioned Iranians in Canada “who’ve benefited from the corrupt, from the horrific regime in Iran,” saying “no extra” would Canada be a secure haven.

Canada has moved to bar hundreds of members of the Iranian regime and Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps from coming into Canada.

Trudeau’s phrases Saturday prompted chants of “kick them out” from the gang.

A demonstrator waves the flag of Iran as they take part in a human chain alongside the Alexandra Bridge becoming a member of Ottawa and Gatineau, Que., on Saturday. (Justin Tang/The Canadian Press)

One of the protesters, Arian Nourishad, mentioned she was glad to see Trudeau on the protest, alongside with Sophie Grégoire Trudeau.

“Of course, you’ll be able to at all times do extra. But we’re joyful he is right here,” she mentioned.

Sharooz Fazni, who got here to Canada from Iran in 1984, mentioned that he was extra hopeful about these protests than ever earlier than. He mentioned he was glad to be collaborating in protests in Canada in assist of these in Iran.

“Here, no person shoots. But in Iran …”

‘Please be our voice’

About 200 individuals protested in Harbourside Park in St. John’s on Saturday.

Aysan, one of many protest organizers, mentioned she was arrested in Iran and compelled to put on a hijab. CBC News is simply referring to her by her first title to guard her household nonetheless in Iran.

Aysan holds the names of about 150 individuals who she mentioned have been arrested or killed in Iran. CBC News is simply utilizing Aysan’s first title to guard her household nonetheless in Iran. (Henrike Wilhelm/CBC)

Aysan referred to as for individuals to talk as much as assist pressure change in the regime in Iran.

“What we would like from individuals of the world, individuals of Canada, to start with, please be our voice. You may not know that, however being your voice, even sharing your story on social media can save lives,” she mentioned.

“We are the identical individuals as you. Just as a result of we had been born in Middle East does not imply that we need to be murdered. And we would like the world [to] know that and cease being supportive of the regime.”

In Halifax, the present of assist for the individuals of Iran moved some demonstrators to tears, mentioned Reza Rahimi, who misplaced his mother-in-law when Flight 752 was shot down.

“[Locals and] immigrants from each nation and each race had been standing beside us,” Rahimi mentioned.

“Three years after dropping my mother-in-law overseas, I’m not saying it is allow us to transfer on — we’d by no means transfer on — however it’ll assist us put one thing on the ache.”

Similar protests unfolded on Saturday in different Canadian cities together with Montreal, Saskatoon, Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver. Around the world, cities in international locations comparable to Australia, France, Germany, Italy, the U.Okay. and the U.S. had been additionally slated to host rallies.


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