Thousands of people gathered in Toronto’s Richmond Hill community on Saturday to mark the anniversary of the killing of protesters in Iran in November 2019.
According to Amnesty International, some 321 people died in a few days during protests sparked by a sharp increase in fuel prices.
As well as marking the anniversary, those present at Saturday’s event demanded justice for the families and victims of the downing of Flight 752 in 2020 shortly after takeoff in Iran. All 176 people on board were killed in the accident.
Amir Ali Alavi says his mother, Neda Sadighi, was among those killed when the Ukraine International Airlines flight, bound for Kyiv, crashed just minutes after taking off from Imam Khomeini International Airport in Tehran .
“My heart really goes out to all the victims, over 400 people were killed in the recent uprising in Iran,” Alavi told CBC News.
“Our hearts go out to all of these people and their families. We see, we know how it feels. We hope victory comes soon.”
Alavi says it is important that all Western governments and people in the free world stand up for the values that the Iranian people bring to the streets.
“They are shouting, they are chanting, it is important to recognize the Iranian regime for what it is, for the killing machine that it launches all over the country and to recognize this as a revolution, not a reform”, a- he declared.
Ongoing protests following the death of Mahsa Amini
Saturday’s protest was also a show of support for ongoing protests in Iran over the death of a 22-year-old woman after she was taken in for questioning by vice police.
Mahsa Amini was arrested in Iran on September 13 after police allegedly challenged her hijab, a headscarf that Iran’s vice police require all women, regardless of nationality or religious beliefs, to wear. She died three days later.
“We are here to support the great movement in Iran that wants to overthrow the regime,” Mahmood Ahmadi, a rally attendee, told CBC News.
“For more than 40 years, women, they have no rights… right now, under the Iranian regime, they are killing little children, 10 years old, five years old.”
The protests first erupted after Amini’s death on September 16 and quickly turned into calls for the overthrow of Iran’s ruling clerics and an end to the theocracy established after the 1979 Islamic revolution.
People say enough is enough, this diet has to go.– Mahmoud Ahmadi
At least 388 people have been killed and more than 16,000 arrested, according to Human Rights Activists in Iran, a group monitoring the unrest. It indicates that at least 53 members of the security forces were killed.
Rights groups accuse security forces of firing live ammunition at protesters and beating them with batons, violence captured in numerous videos circulating online.
“People say enough is enough, this regime has to go,” Ahmadi said.
” Around the world… [people] are on the streets and they said they have to go, and this regime will go, no matter what, this regime will go.
“We are here because we are one movement. It doesn’t matter if we are in Toronto, it doesn’t matter if we are in Europe, it doesn’t matter if we are in Iraq. Everyone, we are together to get rid of this brutal regime Ahmadi added.