About 100 people gathered at the Great Canadian Flag on Windsor’s riverfront Saturday to mark the anniversary of the death of 22-year-old Kurdish-Iranian Mahsa Amini while in police custody.
The demonstration was also held to commemorate the downing of Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752, which killed 176 people, including five from Windsor.
Amini died Sept. 16, 2022, after being taken into Iranian police custody, allegedly for not wearing her hijab properly, sparking protests throughout the country, mainly by women.
After Flight PS752 was shot down by two Iranian missiles on Jan. 8, 2020, Iran originally denied attacking the plane but later admitted it shot down the plane believing it was a U.S. cruise missile.
On the flight were Samira Bashiri, Hamidreza Setareh Kokab, Pedram Jadidi, Zahra Naghibi and Mohammad Abbaspour Ghadi, all students at the University of Windsor.
Dehzad Bol, an Iranian native who helped to organize the protest, said people around the world must help Iranians.
“We want to show the Iranian people inside Iran are not alone and we do our best to support them and be their voice in the international community,” Bol said. “In a way we can help them to get their freedom.
“In Canada I have full freedom. I want my people to experience this freedom in Iran too.”
The Iranian government is scared of its own people, he said.
“They are suppressing people, they are torturing people, they are censoring the Internet.
“When they are … suppressing the people, it means they are afraid of the people, the unity of the people.
Governments around the world have to be part of the solution, he said.
“We want the international community to stop dealing with Iran. Don’t unblock their money in different countries, we want action, we don’t want good words, we don’t want just good speeches.
“We want action against a brutal regime.”
Mahshid Sdeimani, who is also an Iranian native, attended the rally to lift the spirits of the people living in Iran who are protesting.
“We’ve been doing protests and rallies since (the death of Amini),” Sdeimani said. “We’re gathering together to let everyone know it still has not been forgotten and we will not stop until we see real results from people in Iran and from governments all over the world.”
What’s happening in Iran, as the protests continue, is a revolution, she said.
“The most important thing is that the governments from all over the world, they need to acknowledge that this is a … people-led revolution. This is not just protests because we’re not happy with the rules, we are against the whole Islamic Republic regime.”
Protesting the Iranian government, which has cracked down on people who take to the streets, resulting in up to 500 deaths, is “something that we don’t want the world to take lightly,” she said.
Governments must support the people in Iran, and “not support the Islamic republic regime directly and indirectly,” she said.
During the rally Saturday, protesters chanted: “Women, Life, Freedom!”
Events were held across Canada and the world known as the Women, Life, Freedom movement, including in Alberta, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Labrador, B.C. as well as a number of countries including Australia, France, Germany, Norway, Spain, and the U.S.