'We stand with women': Mahsa Amini's death, protests in Iran spark reactions in Canada and around the world

·Editor, Yahoo News Canada
·7 min read

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.

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.

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.

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."

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".

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.

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".

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.

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.

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.”