A grassroots organization rallied upwards of 5,000 people to the streets of San Francisco on Saturday to call for justice for Mahsa Amini and freedom in Iran.
Amini was a 22-year-old Kurdish-Iranian woman who was detained by Iran’s so-called “morality police” for allegedly failing to wear her hijab properly. Witnesses say she was beaten while in custody though the police say she experienced heart failure. Amini slipped into a coma and died three days later.
The “Freedom Rally for Iran” crowd repeatedly chanted “Mahsa Amini!” as they marched from Union Square to the steps of City Hall.
Amini’s death has launched protests in Iran and around the world calling for human rights and an end to the country’s dictatorship led by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
“I am protesting so that women, men and children may have the freedom that I am fortunate to have because my family was able to get out [of Iran] after the revolution,” said Shoka Marefat, 32, of San Francisco. “But so many are still there and they just need basic human rights.”
Others at the protest were reluctant to give their names because of fears that the Iranian dictatorship will punish family members still living in Iran.
“I’m here to get justice for [Mahsa],” said a 64-year-old woman who declined to be identified. “They killed her. Even though she had a hair cover but a little bit of hair was showing, they killed her. That was the last straw.”
The rally was organized by the same group of SF Bay Area Iranian American community leaders that organized a human chain across the Golden Gate Bridge on Sept. 25.
“What’s happening in Iran is the fight towards freedom for all. What you’re witnessing is the biggest movement in the world calling for women’s rights and feminism,” says Farnaz Dadashi, 31, one of the volunteer organizers for the event.
“We will no longer sit back and let the Islamic regime silence us. We’re willing to sacrifice everything to put an end to patriarchy, dictatorship, violence and brutality. We want a free Iran… the Islamic regime does not represent us.”
Click through the photo gallery above to see more images from the rally.
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