B.C. Premier John Horgan says the province is standing in solidarity with Iranians calling for gender equality, human rights and freedom following the death of Mahsa Amini.
Protests have erupted across Iran and beyond since Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian woman, died in police custody on Sept. 16. She was arrested in Tehran three days prior, allegedly because her headscarf was too loose.
Iranian authorities said she died of a heart attack, but her father told news outlets that she had no prior health issues. The U.N. is now investigating Amini’s death.
“For the many British Columbians who have family and friends in Iran, this is an incredibly difficult time,” Horgan said in a statement Wednesday. “The courage of Iranian women and their allies reminds us that we must stand together in support of women’s rights — across generations, gender and geography.”
The courage of Iranian women and their allies reminds us that we must stand together in support of women’s rights—across generations, gender, and geography.
This is everyone’s fight, and it is not over.https://t.co/jr09LHsZHF
— John Horgan (@jjhorgan) October 5, 2022
In B.C., thousands gathered on the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery last week to show their support, as other solidarity events were held in communities across the province.
A gathering was held at the B.C. Legislature on Sept. 23, when Iran was experiencing an internet blackout affecting Iranians in Victoria from contacting their families overseas.
“We are cut from our families, we can’t call them, we don’t know how they’re doing right now,” Neda said in an interview with CHEK News prior to the gathering.
Yet Neda, whose full name was protected out of concerns for safety, said the protests were not something that came overnight or over one incident.
“It’s been so long that have been fighting for basic human rights,” she said.
Protesters like Neda call for decisive action by the government to condemn the Islamic Republic of Iran. On Monday, Canada sanctioned 25 senior Iranian officials and nine government entities.
B.C. officials marked Gender Equality Week from Sept. 18-24 with the theme “Equal Rights, Equal Opportunities,” which Horgan said served as a reminder that work must continue locally.
“Our government will always stand up for equality and justice, at home and abroad, and continue our work to build a better province and a better world,” he said.
With files from CHEK’s Oli Herrera, The Canadian Press