Chanting crowds march in Germany and US in support of Iran demonstrators
Chanting crowds have marched in the streets of Berlin, Washington DC and Los Angeles in a show of international support for demonstrators facing a violent government crackdown in Iran.
The demonstrations were sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in the custody of Iran’s morality police.
In Berlin, a crowd estimated by police at several tens of thousands turned out to show solidarity for the women and activists leading the movement for the past few weeks in Iran.
The protests in Germany’s capital, organised by the Woman(asterisk) Life Freedom Collective, began at the Victory Column in Berlin’s Tiergarten park and continued as a march through central Berlin.
Some demonstrators there said they had come from elsewhere in Germany and other European countries to show their support.
“It is so important for us to be here, to be the voice of the people of Iran, who are killed on the streets,” said Shakib Lolo, who is from Iran but lives in the Netherlands.
“And this is not a protest anymore, this is a revolution, in Iran. And the people of the world have to see it.”
On the US National Mall in DC, thousands of women and men of all ages — wearing green, white and red, the colours of the Iran flag — shouted in rhythm.
“Be scared. Be scared. We are one in this,” demonstrators yelled, before marching to the White House. “Say her name! Mahsa!”
The demonstrations, put together by grassroots organisers from around the US, drew Iranians from across the DC area, with some travelling down from Toronto to join the crowd.
In Los Angeles, home to the biggest population of Iranians outside of Iran, a throng of people formed a slow-moving procession along blocks of a closed downtown street.
They chanted for the fall of Iran’s government and waved hundreds of Iranian flags that turned the horizon into a undulating wave of red, white and green.
“We want freedom,” they called.
Shooka Scharm, an attorney who was born in the US after her parents fled the Iranian revolution, was wearing a T-shirt with the slogan “Women, Life, Freedom” in English and Farsi. In Iran “women are like a second-class citizen and they are sick of it,” Ms Scharm said.
Iran’s nationwide protest against its government first focused on the country’s mandatory hijab covering for women following Ms Amini’s death on September 16.
The demonstrations there have since transformed into the greatest challenge to the Islamic Republic since the 2009 Green Movement over disputed elections. In Tehran on Saturday, more protests against the government took place at several universities.
Rights groups say Iran’s security forces have dispersed gatherings in that country with live ammunition and tear gas, killing over 200 people, including teenage girls.
US President Joe Biden’s administration has said it condemns the brutality and repression against the citizens of Iran and that it will look for ways to impose more sanctions against the Iranian government if the violence continues.
The movement in Iran is rooted in the same issues as in the US and around the globe, said protester Samin Aayanifard, 28, who left Iran three years ago.
“It’s forced hijab in Iran and here in America, after 50 years, women’s bodies are under control,” said Ms Aayanifard, who drove from East Lansing, Michigan to join the DC march.
She referred to rollbacks of abortion laws in the US, saying: “It’s about control over women’s bodies.”
Several weeks of Saturday solidarity rallies in the US capital have drawn growing crowds.
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