'We stand with women': Mahsa Amini's death, protests in Iran spark reactions in Canada and around the world
The world’s eyes are on Iran following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, after she was detained by Iran’s so-called "morality police" for wearing an “unsuitable attire.” Amini’s death has sparked widespread protests in Iran, with women burning headscarves in an act of defiance against the Islamic Republic's strict dress code.
Now, demonstrators in Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain, Lebanon, Turkey, Canada, and the United States have rallied in solidarity with protesters in Iran.
More than 200 people from the Iranian community in London, Ont., gathered together at Western University on Thursday to protest the Iranian government’s oppressive regime.
While we were chanting "women, life, freedom" in solidarity with brave protestors in Iran, a pickup truck driver showed solidarity by honking. From Canada to Iran, in the fight for freedom we are all together. #HonkForIran #MahsaAmini pic.twitter.com/DO7pID4Gk4
— Salman Sima (@SalmanSima) September 23, 2022
Hundreds of people from the Iranian community also gathered in downtown Toronto on Thursday to protest, and calls are being made for people to gather at the city's Yonge-Dundas Square on Friday.
The communities are prioritizing demonstrations to raise awareness after Iran shut off the internet and blocked access to social media applications such as Instagram and WhatsApp to curb the growing protest movement across the country.
Amini was from the Kurdish minority and was with her brother in Tehran when she was arrested by "morality police" for wearing an “improper hijab.” She allegedly had some hair visible under her headscarf. She shortly fell into a coma after collapsing at the Vozara Detention Centre. She died three days later.
Police have denied any reports that the officers beat her with a baton or that they banged her head against their vehicles.
Several people have died in the protests in the last few days and the paramilitary Revolutionary Guard is threatening to prosecute anyone "who spreads fake news and rumours" on social media about the protests.
We exist to connect the world privately. We stand with the rights of people to access private messaging. We are not blocking Iranian numbers. We are working to keep our Iranian friends connected and will do anything within our technical capacity to keep our service up and running
— WhatsApp (@WhatsApp) September 22, 2022
In response, WhatsApp tweeted that it was “working to keep our Iranian friends connected and will do anything within our technical capacity to keep our service up and running.”
The world reacts
Amini's death has sparked sharp condemnations from Canada, the United Nations and the United States.
Canada strongly supports people who are expressing themselves and protesting peacefully in Iran. We are calling on the Iranian regime to end its repression of freedom of expression – and to end the ongoing harassment of, and discrimination against, women.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) September 22, 2022
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called on the Iranian regime to "end its repression of freedom of expression" and "ongoing harassment of, and discrimination against, women."
My statement on rising violence in Iran:#مهسا_امینی pic.twitter.com/zMCdMP3Yxu
— Mélanie Joly (@melaniejoly) September 23, 2022
Mélanie Joly, Canadian lawyer and Minister of Foreign Affairs, stated on Twitter that Canada stands "in solidarity with Mahsa Amini's loved ones and the Iranian women".
What happened to Mahsa Amini while in Iranian custody was abhorrent. Our government has called for a full and transparent investigation into her death and urged Iran to end all forms of harassment and discrimination against women.
— Marci Ien (@MarciIen) September 23, 2022
Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Youth, Marci Ien, also condemned the Iranian government for the death of Amini.
"Women should not have to live in fear of violence and discrimination anywhere," she stated on Twitter.
Mahsa Amini should be alive today. Instead, the United States and the Iranian people mourn her. We call on the Iranian government to end its systemic persecution of women and to allow peaceful protest. #مهسا_امینی
— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) September 20, 2022
In the United States, Secretary of State Antony Blinken condemned the Iranian government and called on them to "end its systemic persecution of women and to allow peaceful protest".
Protests are sweeping Iran & women are burning their hijabs after the death last week of Mahsa Amini, following her arrest by the “morality police”. Human rights groups say at least 8 have been killed. Last night, I planned to ask President Raisi about all this and much more. 1/7
— Christiane Amanpour (@amanpour) September 22, 2022
CNN journalist Christiane Amanpour also tweeted about the protests and her latest interaction with the Iranian president, Ebrahim Raisi. The president abandoned an interview with the journalist in New York after she refused his request to wear a headscarf in his presence.
I was counting the seconds until this man who is an absolute legend will talk about Iran. We are not alone anymore and even when the internet is down the slightest news we get we will give out to the world @Trevornoah #MahsaAmini #مهسا_امینی #OpIran pic.twitter.com/u5HQ8vf44u
— V (@KiarashKiani14) September 23, 2022
Trevor Noah spoke about Amini's death on The Daily Show, which garnered a lot of praise.
"Women in Iran who all have stories of being detained or harassed by the morality police are fighting back, and rightfully so," he said, adding that their actions are "the definition of bravery."
Other political leaders, celebrities, organizations and people around the world have taken to social media to comment on the death of Amini and the ongoing protests in Iran.
Solidarity with the courageous women and allies in Iran protesting for their freedom.
Mahsa Amini was senselessly murdered by the same patriarchal and autocratic forces repressing women the world over.
The right to choose belongs to us all, from hijabs to reproductive care.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) September 23, 2022
To the courageous women of Iran: The world sees you and we stand in solidarity with you. Stay Strong. https://t.co/DZXAHyFrU9
— Rep. Eric Swalwell (@RepSwalwell) September 23, 2022
Safiyyah Ally condemns the police brutality that led to the death of #MahsaAmini in #Iran and says the state should not dictate what people wear. #hijab #muslim #islam pic.twitter.com/opwzwndkwR
— Let the Quran Speak (@Quran_Speaks) September 23, 2022
It could’ve been me, It could’ve been you, It could’ve been any of us…#مهسا_امینی#Mahsa_Amini #MahsaAmini pic.twitter.com/nadnMFa2mJ
— Shadi (@Queenshadii) September 15, 2022
Ghazale Chelavi took to the streets to protest the killing of #MahsaAmini by hijab police in Iran but she herself got killed by security forces. Her friend told me that she got shot in the head in Amol city. She was 32 Yr old mountaineer full of life. Her family are shocked. pic.twitter.com/CF4JZCWYke
— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) September 23, 2022
The circumstances leading to the suspicious death in custody of 22-year-old young woman Mahsa Amini, which include allegations of torture and other ill-treatment in custody, must be criminally investigated. 1/2 pic.twitter.com/pcAVeTWUnW
— Amnesty Iran (@AmnestyIran) September 16, 2022
Mahsa Amini has died after being tortured into a coma by Iranian authorities.
Her mother said, “Let the world know they killed my daughter.”
Authoritarian leaders hope people get distracted and move on.
So let's continue to share her name and her story. #مهسا_امینی https://t.co/iIABYFfE5H
— Leah Remini (@LeahRemini) September 16, 2022
The Islamic Republic of Iran regime did this to an innocent young woman! Her “crime”: improper hijab.
Now Mahsa Amini is in a coma.
No sanctions relief for this brutal dictatorship that daily commits human rights abuses against the innocent people of Iran! #مهسا_امینی pic.twitter.com/ECArk13fzK
— Ellie Cohanim (@elliecohanim) September 16, 2022
This man in Iran slapped a woman. He thought he could get away with it. Things are different right now. pic.twitter.com/moHKrtKwkh
— Frida Ghitis (@FridaGhitis) September 22, 2022
Forced hijab is not “cultural.” Here are pre-1979 images of women in Iran and women protesting forced veiling at the inception of the Islamic Republic. And the vast majority of Iranian women who leave Iran remove their veils. pic.twitter.com/dD5dNs5oQM
— Nazanin Boniadi (@NazaninBoniadi) September 18, 2022
Today, a 22-yr-old woman died in #Iran after being beaten on head by the regime’s “morality police” for not “properly” wearing her Hijab. Her name was Masha Amini.
Her crime was showing some hair. Let that sink in… pic.twitter.com/y7KpmJ7Z1X
— Joyce Karam (@Joyce_Karam) September 16, 2022
Under the country’s Sharia law, women are obliged to cover their hair with a hijab and wear long, loose clothes to disguise their figures.
Iran’s president was elected last year and Ebrahim Raisi signed an order to enforce a new list of restrictions, which included introducing surveillance cameras to monitor and fine unveiled women or refer them for “counselling.”