Iran protests trigger solidarity rallies in Europe, US

Iran protests trigger solidarity rallies in Europe, US
The protests taking place around the world were sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini 22, who was arrested by the morality police after they said she was wearing her hijab incorrectly.
2 min read
Protestors attend a rally in solidarity with women and protesters in Iran on October 22, 2022 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Maja Hitij/Getty Images)

Hundreds rallied in Washington and tens of thousands in Berlin on Saturday in a show of international support for demonstrators facing a violent government crackdown in Iran, sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in the custody of that country's morality police.

On the U.S. National Mall, several hundred men and women of all ages — donning green, white and red, the colours of the Iran flag — chanted. “Be scared. Be scared. We are one in this,” some shouted, ahead of the group's march to the White House. “Say her name! Mahsa!”

The demonstrations, put together by grassroots organisers from around the United States, drew Iranians from across the Washington D.C. area, with some travelling down from Toronto to join the crowd.

The Biden administration has said it condemns the brutality and repression against the citizens of Iran and that it will look for ways to impose more sanctions against the Iranian government if the violence continues.

In Tehran, more antigovernment protests took place Saturday at several universities. The nationwide movement in Iran first focused on the country’s mandatory hijab covering for women following Amiri's death on Sept. 16. The Iranian protests have since transformed into the greatest challenge to the Islamic Republic since the 2009 Green Movement over disputed elections.

Iran's security forces have dispersed gatherings in that country with live ammunition and tear gas, killing over 200 people, including teenage girls, according to rights groups.

In Berlin, nearly 40,000 people gathered turned out to show solidarity for the women and activists leading the movement for the past few weeks in Iran. The protests in Germany's capital, organised by the Woman(asterisk) Life Freedom Collective, began at the Victory Column in Berlin’s Tiergarten park and continued as a march through central Berlin.

Some demonstrators there said they had come from elsewhere in Germany and other European countries to show their support.

“It is so important for us to be here, to be the voice of the people of Iran, who are killed on the streets,” said Shakib Lolo, who is from Iran but lives in the Netherlands. “And this is not a protest anymore, this is a revolution, in Iran. And the people of the world have to see it.”

Several weeks of Saturday solidarity rallies in the U.S. capital have drawn growing crowds.