More than 100 people gathered and formed a human chain in downtown Victoria in protest against the Islamic regime in Iran, six weeks after the death of a 22-year old woman.
Mahsa Amini died in police custody after she was arrested for allegedly violating the country’s strict headdress covering and clothing laws.
According to Iranian authorities, they claim that she died of a heart attack. However, her father has told news outlets that she had no prior health issues.
“Every rally that we have is for being people’s voice, for showing that we are not just a few people,” said Vianna, a protestor.
Outside of the Empress Hotel, many lined up and formed a human chain on the sidewalk. Many held signs calling for justice for Amini, freedom of the Iranian people from the Islamic regime, and photos of people who have been arrested or killed for their role in ongoing protests in Iran.
Limited information has been released from inside the country, but human rights groups estimate at least 250 people, including dozens of minors, have been killed since the unrest began.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards warned protestors that Saturday would be their last day of demonstrating.
“They have killed many and people still continue unrespited [sic].” said human rights lawyer Hossein Raeesi.
Raeesi, an Iranian living in Toronto, calls this protest a modern revolution and doesn’t believe they will slow down anytime soon even with the stark warning from authorities. He adds that Amini’s death has become a catalyst.
“They cannot stop Iranian people, especially Iranian women. They have found the way that they have to stop the revolutionary guard and Iranian dictatorship,” said Raessi.
The Victoria Persian community has now held four gatherings in solidarity with the people of Iran and seeing younger people attend has sparked hope for change.
“It’s not just for Iranians. It’s the voice of liberty that we can engage other people, even non-Iranian people to join us and we communicate our sufferings with others, what is happening in Iran.” said Mahbobeh, a protestor.
The group says more protests will happen.