Regina rally calls for change of Iranian regime on Human Rights Day

People in Regina came together on Human Rights Day to protest against the current regime in Iran.

Iran reports first known execution of a person related to anti-government protests

People gathered on Albert Bridge in Regina on Saturday afternoon to protest against the current regime in Iran. (Matt Howard/CBC)

People in Regina came together Saturday for Human Rights Day to protest against the current regime in Iran.

The United Nations promotes Human Rights Day on Dec. 10 to remember the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. The theme this year was Dignity, Freedom, and Justice for All.

Pouyan Nikzad was one of the people joining the rally in Regina on Saturday afternoon, calling for a change of government in Iran.

"The regime in Iran are killing the people," he said.

"They don't care about the life of the people, they just care about themselves."

Iran has been shaken by protests since the Sept. 16 death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died after being detained by the country's morality police

At least 475 people have been killed in the demonstrations and more than 18,000 detained amid a heavy-handed security crackdown, according to Human Rights Activists in Iran, a group that's been monitoring the protests since they began. 

On Thursday Iran said it executed a prisoner, Mohsen Shekari, 23, convicted for a crime allegedly committed during the country's ongoing nationwide anti-government protests.

Fighting for basic human rights

Nikzad says he still has family in Iran, and during this time it is difficult to stay in touch with his loved ones because they can't easily access the internet.

"Whenever I'm talking to my mom and my parents or my siblings, they are so sad," he said.

"It's very difficult for me to help them because I'm here and they are over there. And they are, you know, fighting …. and I'm here. I can't do anything."

People in Regina were protesting against the regime in Iran on Human Rights Day on Saturday. (Matt Howard/CBC)

This week Canada announced fresh sanctions on 22 individuals in Iran, including political leaders, following the execution of Shekari in that country.

But for some people attending the rally in Regina, sanctions are not enough.

"I'm here … to be the voice of my people back in my home country [where] they are fighting for the very basic human rights," said Shiva Souri.

"I'm here to ask you, to beg you, to beg the people around the world to be their voice."

She said she used to be scared for herself and her family in Iran, but now that fear has turned into rage.

Souri wants all levels of governments in Canada to look into throwing out people with ties to and depending on the Iranian regime, she said.

"We are not safe here with these people here," she said.

"We are here to ask the MPs, please be the voice, use your power and ask the government to expel these people."

With files from Wendyam Valentin Compaore, Radio Canada, The Associated Press, Thomson Reuters