There was a powerful display of solidarity for the people of Iran in Ottawa on Saturday afternoon.
Hundreds of people gathered to speak out against the country’s repressive regime, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
“It is painful and so difficult for me because we are here safe and sound, and people in Iran are getting killed for their very basic human rights,” said one protester.
Many had tears in their eyes and were holding signs saying, “Mahsa Amini”, the 22-year-old woman who died while in the custody of the so-called morality police in Iran. It’s a unit that enforces mandatory headscarves for women and girls in the country.
“It’s been so many years and we haven’t had the support that our people need,” Ottawa resident Minoo Henry said. “This is not the first time that this regime is killing Iranians and it’s not the first time that human rights is being completely ignored by this government.”
The country has used violent tactics to silence protestors within Iran.
Trudeau joined the crowd in support of speaking out against human rights violations.
“We will stand with you, I will march with you, and I will hold hands with you,” Trudeau said. “We will continue to stand with this beautiful community and demonstrate to the world that we will not forget Mahsa Amini.”
Many at the march have loved ones and close family within the country.
“It’s not good,” said Marjan Qazavi, who has family in Iran. “I don’t have access to them at all because of the Internet shut down and I don’t have any access to them.”
Qazavi describes a shared feeling of grief when she is able to connect with her family.
“Sometimes I call my sister and we just cry without any words because it’s not a good time for any of us,” said Qazavi.
The group marched from the National Gallery of Canada to the Alexandra Bridge, which connects Ottawa and Gatineau.
Trudeau joined the group in forming a human chain
Traffic was diverted from the area, with blockades set up by Ottawa police.
Demonstrations were held in 10 cities across Canada as part of a worldwide “human chain” organized by the Association of Families of Flight PS752 Victims.
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