Thousands of people demonstrated in Paris on Sunday to condemn Iran’s crackdown on protests sparked by the death of young Mahsa Amini, who was arrested by morality police. Like their counterparts in Los Angeles and Toronto, also strongholds of the Iranian diaspora, the activists marched from Place de la République to Place de la Nation, the traditional route of major Parisian movements.
The demonstrators chanted the slogans “Join the first feminist revolution! and “Mahsa Amini, your name has shaken the tyranny of the ayatollahs,” despite some heavy downpours. “Death to the Islamic Republic”, “Death to the Dictator” and “Mrs. Life. Freedom”, the demonstration code in Iran, were also heard.
“We are fortunate to be able to demonstrate”
According to the NGO Iran Human Rights (IHR), at least 92 people have been killed in Iran in the crackdown on protests that broke out two weeks ago following the death of Mahsa Amini, who was arrested by morality police. President Ebrahim Raisi again accused Iran’s “enemies” of “conspiring” against his country and said their attempts “failed” as anti-government protests, the largest since 2019, continue.
The trigger for the protest movement was the death of the 22-year-old Iranian Kurd on September 16, three days after her arrest for violating the country’s dress code, which requires women in particular to wear a veil. “For once the women stand up and are accompanied by the men. This is really the time to try to change things. They go out but they are killed. We are fortunate to be able to demonstrate and fight for them. So we will come,” said Guilda Torabi, a student of Iranian descent.
“Iran has become one big prison”
“Now Iran has become one big prison. The internet is cut off and we are now the voice of the Iranians,” denounced Toura Dana, a Franco-Iranian engineer. Left-wing figures, including Socialist Party First Secretary Olivier Faure, deputy ecologist Sandrine Rousseau and LFI (Far Left) MEP Manon Aubry, took the floor, drowned out by catcalls from an Iranian diaspora known for its political diversity is.
Demonstrators also protested when mention was made of the recent meeting in New York on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly between French President Emmanuel Macron and his Iranian counterpart Ebrahim Raïssi. “French government flirts with mullahs while mullahs kill women,” read a slogan next to a photo of the two men shaking hands.