Demonstrators in Canadian cities call for change in Iran after Mahsa Amini’s death

Demonstrations were held in Canadian cities on Saturday in solidarity with people in Iran protesting over the repression of women’s rights following the death of Mahsa Amini after she was detained by the country’s morality police.

Just north of Toronto, hundreds gathered outside Richmond Hill’s Central Library in response to the death of Amini, a 22-year-old woman who had been detained by the morality police in Tehran for allegedly wearing her mandatory headscarf too loosely.

She fell into a coma after she was detained and died in hospital on Sept. 16, sparking international condemnation

Iranian-Canadians for Justice & Human Rights, an organization that says its made up of community leaders and rights activists, led protestors throughout Richmond Hill’s streets while chanting Amini’s name.

Demonstrators in Richmond Hill, Ont., chanted Mahsa Amini’s name in the streets during one of several rallies held on Saturday in solidarity with protestors in Iran. (CBC)

“It’s not just one incident. That’s the anger coming from 43 years of suppression,” said Mehrdokhd Hadi, an organizer of the event.

“Mahsa is the symbol. But now, it’s about everybody. This is for Iran, and people of Iran.”

Amini’s death has sparked protests across Canada and the world. (CBC)

In Ottawa, demonstrators gathered outside the National Gallery of Canada to protest the Iranian regime.

Protesters rally outside the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa on Saturday. (Celeste Decaire/CBC)

In St. John’s, about 300 people gathered at the Colonial Building in support of protesters in Iran, many of whom are their own friends and relatives.

Mohammad Afkani, one of the event’s organizers, said Amini’s death was a tipping point after decades of brutality.

“There were many Mashas before in Iran,” said Afkani. “She’s not the first one. She definitely won’t be the last. People are tired of 44 years of the Islamic regime killing people.

“This corruption should be done. We’re tired of this situation.”

A protester holds up a sign.
Protestors gathered in St. John’s in support of the Freedom Rally for Iran on Saturday. (Henrike Wilhelm/CBC)

Protesters have vented their anger over the treatment of women and wider repression in Iran. The demonstrations rapidly escalated into calls for the overthrow of the clerical establishment that has ruled Iran since its 1979 Islamic revolution.

“We’re not here to change the government of Iran. We’re here to support the people of Iran to change the government, because that’s what they want,” Hadi said.

Iranian state TV has reported that at least 41 protesters and police have been killed since the demonstrations began Sept. 17. An Associated Press count of official statements by authorities tallied at least 14 dead, with more than 1,500 demonstrators arrested.

WATCH | Protests held around the world in September after Amini’s death: 

Protests held around the world after death of Mahsa Amini in Iran

Protesters in Greece cut their hair and set fire to a headscarf on Saturday after the death of Mahsa Amini following her arrest by Iran’s morality police. Demonstrators also gathered in Washington and Berlin to show solidarity with those protesting in Iran.

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