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Around The World, Protesters Take To The Streets In Solidarity With Iranian Women

Two people hold roses in the air with an Iranian flag and L.A. City Hall behind them.
Protesters flooded downtown L.A. streets on Saturday to demand freedom for Iran and rights for Iranian women.
(Brian Feinzimer for LAist)
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Protesters have gathered in cities around the world in recent days — including a large protest in Los Angeles — in a show of solidarity with women in Iran.

The gatherings are an echo of the protests that have erupted in Iran since the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who had been detained by the country's so-called morality police.

Whether in Istanbul or L.A., protests are marked by the striking words and images that have typified the protests rocking Iran: chants of "Women, life, freedom!" and in some cases, women taking scissors to their hair.

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"When Iranian woman see what happened to Mahsa, they think it could have happened to them because you hardly find an Iranian woman who has not been either warned or detained or harassed by the morality police," Golnaz Esfandiari, senior correspondent for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, told NPR last week. "So we all know we've all had this experience."

"I was talking to several women in Iran, and they told me, look, even if she wasn't tortured, but she probably died from fear. She had a heart attack from fear. Because they know how scary this is," Esfandiari said.


People hold signs and chant slogans during a protest against the death of Iranian Mahsa Amini.
The scene at a protest Sunday in Turkey.
(Chris McGrath
Getty Images)

In Turkey's most populous city, hundreds reportedly gathered on Sunday to protest against the Iranian government.

Many Iranians were among those who protested, Hurriyet Daily Newsreported.

A very large group of protesters are walking down a city street. Many wear face masks. At the center of the photograph, a woman holds up a color picture of Mahsa Amini, a young Iranian woman wearing a black head scarf that partially covers her hear, a wristwatch and a black loose button-down shirt. In the picture, Amini is smiling with her mouth closed and gazing to the left.
A protester holds a portrait of Mahsa Amini during a demonstration in support of Amini, a young Iranian woman who died after being arrested in Tehran by the Islamic Republic's morality police, on Istiklal avenue in Istanbul on September 20, 2022. - Amini, 22, was on a visit with her family to the Iranian capital when she was detained on September 13 by the police unit responsible for enforcing Iran's strict dress code for women, including the wearing of the headscarf in public. She was declared dead on September 16 by state television after having spent three days in a coma.
(Ozan Kose
AFP via Getty Images)

Washington, D.C.

Two people hold raised hands as protesters carry Iranian and U.S. flags.
Supporters of the protests in Iran gather in Farragut Square on Saturday in Washington, DC.
(Nathan Howard
Getty Images)

In Washington, protesters gathered in Farragut Square, holding signs and chanting Amini's name.

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There was also a candlelight vigil in front of the White House on Saturday night in support of anti-government protesters in Iran.

"This time is different because, in my opinion, is led by the women. Women are the revolutionaries ... at this time in history," said protester Aref Alvandi at the D.C. rally, according to ABC News.

"Iranian people are not backing down. The Iranian regime has miscalculated their resolve for changing this regime, and we're asking the White House to do the same," demonstrator Ramesh Sepehrrad told the D.C. affiliate of NBC News.

On Capitol Hill last week, a bipartisan group of senators introduced a resolution condemning Amini's detention and death. The resolution calls for the government of Iran "to end its systemic persecution of women."

Los Angeles

A massive red white and green flag is carried by protesters who pack downtown streets
The scene in downtown L.A. on Saturday as crowds protest for women's rights in Iran.
(Brian Feinzimer for LAist)

The L.A. metro area is home to a large population of Iranian immigrants — more than one-third of the U.S. population of Iranian descent lives in the area, as we reported here at LAist over the weekend.

A march through the city's downtown ended at City Hall. Marchers played drums, shouted "Free Iran," held Iranian flags, and held aloft signs with messages such as "No to Islamic Republic" and "Freedom for Iran."

San Francisco

Thousands marched in San Francisco on Saturday in support of the Iranian protests.

Nazanin Balsa, an Iranian woman living in the United States, told NPR that the death of Amini is heartbreaking, but not surprising.

"I was dragged with my hair on the street because I didn't have my hijab right. And I know how they can kill you. It's not very shocking to me, but I'm glad the world is waking up to how brutal this regime is," Balsa said.

During the protests, marchers chanted Amini's names, and held up photos — some of Amini, while others held photos of their own loved ones who are arrested or missing in Iran.


Afghan women hold placards as they take part in a protest in front of the Iranian embassy in Kabul on Thursday. Taliban forces fired shots into the air to disperse the rally.
Afghan women hold placards as they take part in a protest in front of the Iranian embassy in Kabul on Thursday. Taliban forces fired shots into the air to disperse the rally.
(Wakil Kohsar
AFP via Getty Images)

In Kabul last week, about 30 women in headscarves protested outside the Iranian embassy chanting, "Women, life, freedom," according to Voice of America.

But Taliban security forces dispersed the protests with force, tearing at banners and firing into the air, Voice of America reported.

"We are sure that one day, our people will rise in the same way as the Iranian people," a protester who spoke on condition of anonymity told the news outlet.

A man shaves his head during a demonstration in support of Kurdish Iranian woman Mahsa Amini during a protest on Sunday on Place de la Republique in Paris.
The demonstrators were protesting for women's rights in Iran
(Stefano Rellandini /AFP via Getty Images
AFP via Getty Images)


In the French capital, several feminist groups organized a protest in support of Iranian women on Friday evening, calling for President Emmanuel Macron to take action.

"Internet access has been limited in Iran, so we have a role to play in relaying the messages of Iranian men and women here and amplifying their actions," Fabienne El-Khoury, the spokeswoman for feminist group Osez le Féminisme, told France24.

"When we protest here [in France], we do not fear for our lives. We salute the courage of Iranian women who are playing their part by taking to the streets and continuing to unveil themselves publicly to call for equality and social justice in a country where women's bodies are controlled by the state," she added.

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