Thousands of people gathered in several countries Sunday to condemn Iran’s crackdown on protests in that country that began after the death of a young woman while in police custody.
Thousands of Iranians have taken to the streets over the last two weeks to protest the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman who had been detained by Iran’s morality police in the capital of Tehran for allegedly not adhering to Iran’s strict Islamic dress code. Her family alleged she was beaten, while officials claim she died of a heart attack.
At least 92 people have been killed in the crackdowns, the Norway-based group Iran Human Rights said Sunday. IHR also stated there have been severe cuts to internet access.
Iranian state TV has reported that at least 41 protesters and police have been killed since the demonstrations began Sept. 17. The Associated Press count of official statements by authorities tallied at least 14 dead, with more than 1,500 demonstrators arrested.
Iran’s utmost authority, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has not commented on the nationwide protests, which have spread to Iran’s 31 provinces, Reuters reported.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi has ordered an investigation into Amini’s death.
Following major rallies in key diaspora cities including Los Angeles and Toronto over the weekend, thousands walked from the French capital’s traditional protest hub of Place de la Republique to Place de la Nation, Agence France-Presse reported.
They chanted “Death to the Islamic republic,” “Death to the dictator,” as well as “Woman. Life. Freedom,” the three words that have become the main slogan of the protests in Iran.
They also sang along to “Baraye” (“For”), which Iranian songwriter Shervin Hajipour put together using Twitter postings about the protests. The song became a huge viral hit on Instagram, and an anthem for the protesters— moving many to tears, but Hajipour has now been arrested in a symbol of the breadth of the crackdown against the protests in Iran, AFP reported.
“For once, it is the women who have risen up and are being joined by the men. This is really the time to try to change things,” Guilda Torabi, a student of Iranian origin in Paris, told AFP.
In Istanbul, hundreds of protesters chanted slogans against the Tehran regime and in support of protesters in Iran.
Women held red roses, Iranian flags and signs bearing the words “women, life, freedom,” the international battle cry of the protest movement triggered last month by the death of Amini, an Iranian Kurd.
In Diyarbakir, a southeastern city with a majority Kurdish population, around 200 people gathered brandishing photographs of Iranian women killed in the crackdown and a large banner with the slogan “women, life, freedom” in Kurdish, an AFP correspondent reported.
Protesters also gathered in the western city of Izmir Saturday evening, according to images published on social media and verified by AFP.
On Saturday, demonstrations took place worldwide, including in Washington, D.C., Montreal, Rome, London, Frankfurt and Seoul, media reported.
Tens of thousands of people have marched in several Canadian cities, including Montreal, Vancouver, Toronto and the capital, Ottawa.
In Canada, public broadcaster CBC showed images from Toronto Saturday of motorists honking their support for demonstrators lining a 5-kilometer-stretch (3 miles) of road, wearing “Justice for Mahsa Amini” T-shirts and waving Iranian flags on the end of hockey sticks, AFP reported.
In Montreal, several women cut their hair as a crowd of more than 10,000 waved placards that read “Justice” and “No to Islamic Republic,” while chanting “Say her name. Say her name.”
“It was for the Iranian women who are fighting for their freedom, for their lives in Iran,” a 30-year-old expatriate who only gave her name as Sin told AFP after chopping off her long dark locks.
She described cutting off her hair that flowed almost to the middle of her back as “nothing compared to” what women in Iran have endured. “This is the least we can do to support my country, my women, my people in Iran who are under repression,” she said.
A protest took place Saturday in the U.S. capital, Washington, where hundreds of members of the Kurdish community, some bearing placards calling for regime change in Tehran, gathered outside the White House gates, AFP reported.
And in California, thousands of Iranian Americans marched through the streets of downtown Los Angeles Saturday in solidarity with the protests that have rocked Iran since Amini’s death in Tehran three weeks ago.
In a late Saturday protest in Bern, Swiss police used rubber bullets to disperse protesters in front of the Iranian Embassy after two men climbed over the embassy’s fence and pulled down the Iranian flag from a flagpole, The Associated Press reported.
Police said they detained the two protesters who entered the embassy grounds.
Authorities said rubber bullets were used when other protesters also tried to climb the fence. It wasn’t immediately clear if more protesters were detained, AP reported.
Some material for this article came from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters.