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1,200 join Brussels march in support of Iranian women

10:43 17/10/2022

A second demonstration in Brussels in support of human rights for Iranian women was held over the weekend, with about 1,200 people taking part.

Participants took to the streets on Saturday afternoon to show support for women in Iran, who in recent weeks have themselves been protesting following the death of a 22-year-old woman who refused to comply with the district dress codes of the Islamic Republic.

Mahsa Amini died in a hospital on 16 September following her arrest three days earlier for not wearing a veil, a rule that applies only to women in the country.

Her death sparked a series of protests, often featuring women removing and burning their veils.

“We are taking to the streets of Brussels today to show the Iranian people that they are not alone, that we stand with them,” Fariba Amarkhizi, a member of one of the organising associations, told RTL.

“It is clear that the Iranian people have had enough of this religious, theocratic and dictatorial regime. And unfortunately, the regime always responds to protests with violence and bloodshed.”

Some of the participants were themselves Iranians living abroad. “For us, this is a very difficult time,” one such protester said.

“Our hearts go out to the Iranian people and their struggle for freedom. We thank everyone who is here today.”

The demonstration was led by a large group of women and began in Place du Trône before proceeding to the Schuman roundabout at the end of the route. People shouted protests against the Iranian regime, along with slogans such as "My body, my choice" and "Woman, life, freedom".

Similar protests took place simultaneously in Iran, with people gathering in the streets of the northwestern city of Ardabil, according to videos shared on Twitter.

Traders also went on strike in a show of solidarity in Saghez, Mahsa Amini's hometown in the northwestern province of Kurdistan, and in Mahabad in the north, according to an online social media account that monitors human rights violations.

“Schoolgirls in the village of Ney in Marivan started fires in the street and shouted anti-government chants,” said Hengaw, a Norwegian-based advocacy group for Iranian Kurds.

Young people also demonstrated at universities in Tehran, the southern city of Esfahan and the northwestern city of Kermanshah.

Written by Helen Lyons