Ottawa residents rally in solidarity with Iranians over woman’s death

Demonstrations intensify in Iran sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini, a Kurdish woman who died while in the custody of the morality police after being detained earlier this month for allegedly wearing her hijab too loosely.

“It’s not just about the hijab, it’s about the body they want to control and oppress all the women, to control the country,” said activist Azin Rezaeian.

The 22-year-old’s death sparked outrage in Ottawa’s Iranian community with one woman cutting off portions of her hair in front of hundreds of demonstrators during a downtown rally.

“Mahsa isn’t the first woman to go through this. It was a breaking point,” said Ramona Karimi, who joined several demonstrators on the downtown streets to raise awareness of what they say are oppressive rules by the Iranian regime.

“We need our leaders to listen and to help Iran,” she said. “The only way Iran can bypass this internet censorship and really get somewhere with the uprising and protest is if the whole world helps.”

Progressive Conservative MPP for Carleton Goldie Ghamari also joined the crowd, writing on Twitter “honoured to join the hundreds of people in Ottawa who came out to support the people of Iran. Say her name. Be their voice.”

The cries for “woman, life and freedom” grow louder. Several in the community say they will continue to raise awareness about the unfolding crisis and speak up for those who cannot.

“No one deserves to be treated like that and a young girl at that age with a lot of hopes and dreams being put through that situation is not acceptable,” said demonstrator Maryan Kayamkar.

Human rights organizations say at least 54 people have been killed by Iranian security forces while hundreds have been detained and beaten. Meanwhile Iran’s president threatened to “deal decisively” with demonstrators growing in numbers in cities across the country.

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