Germany: Thousands March in solidarity with Iran protests

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Thousands of people have marched in Germany’s capital Berlin in solidarity with protesters in Iran where unrest ignited by Mahsa Amini’s death in police custody entered its sixth week.

Police estimated 80,000 people joined the Berlin march, with protesters waving Iranian flags and holding banners saying “Woman, Life, Freedom”. 

Organisers say Iranians travelled from the United States, Canada and all over the European Union.

“From Zahedan to Tehran, I sacrifice my life for Iran,” human rights activist Fariba Balouch said after giving a speech at the Berlin gathering, referring to Iranian cities swept up in the protests.

The crowd responded with “Death to Khamenei”, referring to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Anti-government activists said the Berlin march is the largest ever demonstration against the Islamic Republic by Iranians abroad.

“I feel very good, because we are here to (say) ‘We are with you, with all Iranian people’. I am Mahsa Amini’s voice,” said a protester who gave her name as Maru.

The protests have posed one of the boldest challenges to Iran’s clerical leadership since the 1979 revolution, even if they do not appear close to toppling a government that has deployed its powerful security apparatus to quell the unrest.

Also Read: Iran protests: Germany urges action against violent crackdown

Women have played a prominent part, waving and burning veils. The deaths of several teenaged girls reportedly killed during protests have fuelled more anger.

Rights groups say more than 200 people have been killed in the crackdown.

Some of the deadliest unrest have been in areas home to ethnic minorities with long-standing grievances against the state. These include the Sistan-Baluchistan province in the southeast and its provincial capital Zahedan.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards on Saturday accused a leading Sunni cleric of agitating against the Islamic Republic and warned it may cost him dearly after he held officials including Khamenei responsible for dozens killed in Zahedan last month.

Amnesty International has said security forces killed at least 66 people in a crackdown after Friday prayers in Zahedan, on September 30.

Molavi Abdolhamid, Zahedan’s leading Sunni cleric, said during his Friday sermon that officials including Khamenei, head of the Shi’ite-dominated state, were “responsible before God” for the September 30 killings.

He described the killing as a massacre, saying bullets had been fired at heads and chests.

Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurd, died in the custody of morality police after being detained for “improper attire”.

Protests erupted at her funeral on September 17 in the Kurdish town of Saqez before spreading across Iran.


Zainab Sa’id

Source Reuters
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