A crowd of protesters at the University of Minnesota staged a demonstration Thursday in solidarity with people uprising in Iran over the death of a woman in police custody.
“We are all worried about our families,” said Faraz Samavat, a third-year international graduate student from Iran who is pursuing a master’s degree in physics. “But we know that ultimately a blood price has to be made for there to be change.”
Mahsa Amini has died after allegedly breaking the country’s strict dress code, sparking protests across the Middle Eastern country. At least nine people have died in clashes with police, according to the Associated Press.
About 100 people joined the group gathered outside the Coffman Memorial Union on Thursday, chanting “say her name Mahsa Amini” chants, holding red and white flowers and displaying signs. One said, “You will not die. Your name will be a symbol.”
Several Iranian protesters described fear for their families, particularly after the government shut down the internet on Wednesday in an attempt to quell the unrest. A few refused to give their full names for fear of political reprisals upon returning to their home countries.
“We live in the United States and we don’t have contact with our families and that scares us a lot because we don’t know what the government is going to do with them,” said Bahar, a 25-year-old protester. . “We are here to tell the world that something is happening in Iran.
Showing solidarity with their people will spread their message to the rest of the world, said Zahra, 32, in Minnesota on probation. She also refused to give her surname for fear of what might happen to her when she returns to Iran.
“We want people from other nations to know and hear our voices, especially right now because the (Iranian) president is at the United Nations,” Zahra said. She said she hopes the issue will be discussed further within the international organization.
Any Iranian linked to anti-government protests has good reason to be afraid, Samavat said. But he said he was proud of his family and friends for standing up to protest the atrocities.
“It is difficult for us to hear of one of our fellow citizens dying at the hands of the police,” he said, “but also honorable to hear of people rising up and opposing the regime itself. if they don’t have weapons.
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