WASHINGTON (AP) — Crowds chanting slogans marched through the streets of Berlin, Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles on Saturday in a show of international support for demonstrators facing a violent government crackdown in Iran.triggered by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in the custody of the country’s moral police.
Thousands of men, women and children — dressed in green, white and red, the colors of the Iranian flag — shouted rhythmically on the National Mall. “Afraid. Afraid. We are one of them,” protesters shouted before heading to the White House. “Say her name! Martha!”
The demonstrations, organized by grassroots organizers across the United States, drew Iranians from across Washington, D.C., some from Toronto to join the crowd.
In Los Angeles, Iran’s most populous city outside Iran, a group of protesters formed a slow-moving march along a closed downtown street. They chanted the downfall of the Iranian government and waved hundreds of Iranian flags, turning the horizon into waves of red, white and green.
“We want freedom,” they growl.
Shooka Scharm, a lawyer who was born in the United States after her parents fled the Iranian revolution, wore a T-shirt with the slogan “Women, Life, Freedom” in English and Persian. In Iran, “women are like second-class citizens, and they’re fed up with it,” Sham said.
Following Amiri’s death on September 9, Iran’s nationwide anti-government protest movement first focused on the country’s mandatory hijab for women. 16. Demonstrations there have since turned into the biggest challenge to a contested election since the 2009 Green Movement. More anti-government protests took place at several universities in Tehran on Saturday.
Iranian security forces used live ammunition and tear gas to disperse rallies in the country, killing more than 200 people, including teenage girls, according to human rights groups.
The Biden administration has said it condemns the brutality and repression of Iranian citizens and that it will find ways to impose more sanctions on the Iranian government if the violence continues.
Between chants, protesters in Washington began to sing, singing traditional Persian music about life and freedom — all composed after the 1979 revolution brought religious fundamentalists to power in Iran. In particular, they sang one in unison – “Baraye,” meaning because, this has become the unofficial national anthem of the Iranian protests.The song’s singer Shervin Hajipour was arrested shortly after releasing the song on his Instagram in late September. It got over 40 million views.
“Because of women, life, freedom,” the protesters sang, echoing the popular protest slogan: “Azadi” – freedom.
Samin Ayanifad, a 28-year-old protester who left Iran three years ago, said the movement in Iran is rooted in the same issues as those in the United States and globally. “It’s forcing hijabs here in Iran and the US, and 50 years later, women’s bodies are in control,” said Ayanifad, who drove from East Lansing, Michigan, to the march on Washington. She mentioned the retrogression of abortion laws in the United States. “It’s about control over the female body.”
Weeks of solidarity rallies in the U.S. capital on Saturday drew growing crowds.
In Berlin, German police estimate tens of thousands The women and activists who have led the movement in Iran over the past few weeks have proved solidarity. The protests in the German capital, organised by the Women’s (asterisk) Freedom for Life Collective, started at the Victory Column in Berlin’s Tiergarten Park and continued to march through central Berlin.
Some demonstrators there said they had come from elsewhere in Germany and other European countries to show support.
“It’s very important to us that we come here and be the voice of the Iranian people who are killed in the streets,” said Shakib Lolo, who is from Iran but lives in the Netherlands. “In Iran, it’s no longer a protest. , but a revolution. The people of the world must see it.”
Blood reports from Los Angeles.
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