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Hundreds of Londoners protest against young woman who died in Iranian police custodyOUS News

“Women, life, liberty,” were the words spoken by more than 200 people from the Iranian community in London, Ont., who gathered at Western University on Thursday to protest the death of a young woman in Iran who remained in police custody. Had died. custody.

Mahsa Amini, 22, died last week in Tehran after being arrested for wearing “inappropriate attire”. Amini was detained by the country’s so-called “ethics police”, who reportedly took issue with the way she wore her headscarf. She slipped into a coma while in custody and eventually died.

Besat Zardost, one of the organizers of the event, said: “I’ve been beaten up, I’ve been humiliated. My sister has been arrested for inappropriate hijab because of really unfair rules in Iran.” ,

Zardost organized a demonstration in London as a way of standing up for women’s rights and the freedom of Iranians.

Zardost said part of the importance of the demonstrations outside Iran comes from speculation that the Iranian government has blocked internet access in parts of the country to curb protesters’ ability to organize and be heard internationally.

Besat Zardost, one of the organizers of the protest, said that while she was living in Iran, she was also arrested and humiliated by the ethics police. (Isha Bhargava/CBC)

Attendees at the event echoed Zardost’s sentiments, including the heartbreak he said after learning of Amini’s death.

Mo Akbari, an attendee in support of the protest, said: “It deeply hurts me because it is a woman’s right to choose whatever she wants to wear, no matter where she lives.” “On top of that, there is nothing provocative in his clothing, or anything of that nature. There was no reason for his arrest.”

Akbari’s two daughters live in Toronto. He said he was proud of her and that in Canada it was her right to wear what she felt was right.

‘That could have been me’

21-year-old Mahsa Manvi left Iran a decade ago. Hearing that a young woman of the same age who shared her maiden name had been arrested because of her dress, she felt very personal to Maanvi.

“That could have been me if I had still been back home,” she said. “It really broke my heart and I thought ‘this needs to change’ we want our freedom back.”

Mahsa Manvi, 21, was heartbroken when she heard that a young woman of her age had been arrested and died in police custody. (Isha Bhargava/CBC)

He said Manvi believes that women protesting in Iran show the government that Iranian citizens have a lot and want control over their bodies.

Amini’s death has sparked national and worldwide protests for changes to the country’s hijab laws. Some women in Iran are refusing to wear the hijab in public. Similar protests have taken place in Canadian cities including Calgary and Montreal.

Protesters bearing the symbol Mahsa Amini say her name has become a symbol of women’s freedom in Iran. (Isha Bhargava/CBC)

call to action

A common thread in the argument for performance is to demand change from Ottawa.

Akbari said, “World governments need to stop mingling with the Iranian government and trying to appease them. For 40 years, the people of Iran have suffered while foreign governments try to appease them. ”

19-year-old Bahram Zardost believes the fight for independence is now more important than ever, especially for the younger generation of Iranians. He said that he felt shocked and disgusted to hear about Amini’s death.

19-year-old Bahram Zardost said the protest represents a fight for independence for the young Iranian generation. (Isha Bhargava/CBC)

“My friends, young men and women are not living in Iran, it’s very disappointing for me because I can’t do much from Canada,” he said.

“Mahasa’s death was like a trigger for all of us young people who felt it would keep happening if they kept quiet.”

Police in Iran said last Thursday that Amini, who was arrested on September 13, had been taken to hospital after allegedly suffering a heart attack while in custody.

Iranian officials have said they would launch an investigation to determine the cause of his death.