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U of G students stand in solidarity with Iranian women

Students gather in solidarity for women's rights and to honour Mahsa Amini 

University of Guelph students stood in solidarity Thursday at a protest in support of women’s freedoms in Iran, two weeks after the death of Mahsa Amini.

Amini was 22-years-old when she died while in custody of Iranian morality police.

“This sparked an outrage among the people of Iran, especially among Iranian women, who have been oppressed by the Islamic Republic regime for 43 long years,” said student Mahsaan Moazzen.

Imagine, Moazzen told the gathering of 40 students in Branion Plaza, that after this protest university security asked us to leave and go to an underground parking lot where we are swarmed by security and armed police.

That's what took place at Sharif University of Technology in Tehran, Iran, said Moazzen.

She held back tears describing some of the atrocities people of Iran have faced and seeing other students crying in the audience made her emotional, she said.

Students sang along to an Iranian song about freedom from oppression. They chanted Amini's name.

Moazzen said she wanted to make it clear they are not protesting the Islamic religion.

“We're against mandatory hijab. We’re against using religion as a way to oppress us,” said Moazzen.

Some of the freedoms Moazzen and her peers are fighting for are women being able to travel without the permission of their husbands, freedom of speech, and freedom to have pets. Basic freedoms Canadians have, are a privilege, she said.

Back in Iran, where Moazzen is from, her teenage cousins shared on social media after they heard the news about  Amini, they said they're going to be next. 

“I'm generally just really disappointed with the coverage,” said Waed Hasan, U of G student who attended the protest. 

She said the media around the world and Canada isn’t doing enough to talk about Amini and her source of news comes from TikTok, not mainstream media.

By attending the protest on campus it lets Iranian students know they are supported, said Hasan.

“The thing is the lack of progress in my country during this time,” said Nargess Kalalntarr, Iranian woman and student at the protest. The internet was unavailable in Iran so she went over a week without talking with her family.

“We are fighting for our basic rights. It’s my choice to wear a hijab or not,” she said.

There is a fear that if she did go back to Iran she would have to stand in front of a judge and explain why she chose not to wear a hijab in Canada. 

She, along with other people would not be allowed to enter the country if she did not adhere to the dress code, fully clothed and covered while wearing a hijab. 

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Santana Bellantoni

About the Author: Santana Bellantoni

Santana Bellantoni was born and raised in Canada’s capital, Ottawa. As a general assignment reporter for Guelph Today she is looking to discover the communities, citizens and quirks that make Guelph a vibrant city.
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