Paris hosts a solidarity march in support of Iranian women
PARIS: On Sunday, thousands of people marched through Paris to support Iranian protesters defying their government after the murder of a young woman while in police custody. In an act of emancipation, many female protesters hacked off sections of their hair and threw them into the air.
Leading politicians, French feminist organisations, and women of Iranian descent joined the rally at Republique Plaza before the march through eastern Paris.
The crowd continued to shout, unaffected by the rain, “Woman, Life, Liberty.” The words “Freedom for Iranian women,” “No to Obligatory Hijab,” or simply the name of the young woman, “#Mahsa Amini,” can be seen on several banners.
It was the most recent and biggest of several demonstrations in France in favour of the Iranian protesters. Many people, including Iranians, have marched in many places around the world.
Over the past two weeks, tens of thousands of Iranians have demonstrated in the streets in opposition to the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman who had been arrested by Iran’s morality police in Tehran for allegedly failing to follow the country’s strict Islamic dress code.
The rallies turned into calls for the toppling of the religious leadership, which has dominated Iran since 1979, as protestors expressed their rage over the treatment of women and general repression in the Islamic Republic.
Some protesters in Paris shouted “Khomenei get out!” in both Persian and French, in reference to Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Khomeini. The red poppy, Iran’s representation of a martyr, was painted on the cheeks of some women.
Iris Farkhondeh, a 40-year-old French academic who arrived in France as a refugee when she was a young child, said she is concerned about the threat of terrorist acts in France from religious extremists as well as the rise of Islamist extremism.
She said, “The conflict we face in Iran is the same as the conflict in France.
Other protestors expressed resentment over Iran’s clothing laws and expanding gender restrictions. Some others were reluctant to provide their names because they feared what may happen to their relatives in Iran.
Romane Ranjbaran, 28, joined her mother and other family members in the demonstration.”Iran is part and parcel of my history. My mom knew free Iran, when women were free,” she said.
She expressed her happiness at the large turnout at the gathering on Sunday.
“It is an international fight. If we want the situation in Iran to improve, we need international support,” she said.