Thousands in Montreal rally in solidarity with protesters in Iran

Thousands came out to downtown Montreal streets this Saturday to again protest the Iranian regime's harsh crackdown on protests happening across the country.

Protesters came out to show their support to those who have been killed to date in the uprising

A large group of protesters, much of them Persian, crowd a university campus.
Thousands came out to downtown Montreal on Saturday to denounce the recent killings in Iran amid the uprising against the regime. (Chloë Ranaldi/CBC)

Thousands came out to downtown Montreal streets this Saturday to again protest the Iran regime's harsh crackdown on protests happening across the country.

Dozens have been killed in the protests, sparked after 22-year-old Mahsa Amini died last month after being detained by morality police who stopped her for not properly wearing her hijab.

"We are here for them," said Banafsheh Cheraghi, one of the Iranians who organized the protest.

"They are there not only resisting the Iran regime, but also fighting back. I would feel useless if I were not here today supporting them and echoing their voices."

Large crowds carrying Iranian flags chanted for the liberation of women in the country, marching from the gates of McGill University all the way to Jeanne Mance Park.

WATCH | Demonstrations held across Canada and around the world: 

Protests against Iran's repression of women's rights held around the world

4 months ago
Duration 2:14
Protests against Iran's compulsory hijab law and the state's morality police took place across Canada and around the world on Saturday in response to the death of Mahsa Amini in September.

According to a recent estimate by Amnesty International, over 75 people have died since the beginning of the unrest. More than 1,200 have also been arrested by the regime.

The demonstration in Montreal was one of many happening around the world Saturday in solidarity with the protesters denouncing the regime's mandatory hijab law and its heavy-handed policing of women who don't comply.

Another demonstration was held on Tuesday as a human chain was formed around McGill's iconic Roddick Gates.

"What happened to Mahsa is really devastating, because she lost her life for nothing," said Atena Barforoushi, another Iranian immigrant in attendance Saturday.

"It's very devastating as someone who has been abused many times in the streets of Iran for not having a proper hijab."

A woman at a protest.
Atena Barforoushi said she used to get stopped in Iran while she was with male family members, with morality police demanding to verify their relation to her. (Chloë Ranaldi/CBC)

Shayan Asgharian, the president of the Iranian student association at Concordia University, said he wants to see a regime change.

He also wants Canada to designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps — a branch of the country's army designated to protect the political regime — as a terrorist organization, something the U.S. has already done.

"We don't have freedom of choice in Iran for anything, and freedom of dress goes under the category of freedom of choice. That doesn't exist in Iran," Asgharian said. "We're thankful to have it in Canada."

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Monday that Canada will levy sanctions on "dozens" of Iranian individuals and entities, including the country's morality police, but many protesters turned out because they say not enough is being done.

"Take action," Cheraghi said. "We want sanctions against the regime, against the regime's officials and their offspring and their dependents, and we want the ones already here to be expelled from the country."

Based on a report by Chloë Ranaldi