University of Victoria students join global rally to amplify the voice of Iranians

Students from the University of Victoria rally in front of McPherson Library to support the Iranian protests fighting for freedom. (Hollie Ferguson/News Staff)Students from the University of Victoria rally in front of McPherson Library to support the Iranian protests fighting for freedom. (Hollie Ferguson/News Staff)
Sepideh Azadbakht speaks about the conflict in Iran. (Hollie Ferguson/News Staff)Sepideh Azadbakht speaks about the conflict in Iran. (Hollie Ferguson/News Staff)

University of Victoria students joined over 200 schools around the globe standing in solidarity with Iranian protests through the Campus Rally for Iran.

Anti-government protests for freedom and women’s rights have occupied news out of Iran following the murder of a young girl named Mahsa Amini by the country’s morality police.

Greater Victoria has played a part in this movement, holding protests, rallies and demonstrations across the region, many of which have been organized by students with close connections to Iran.

READ MORE: Island Iranian-Canadians express outrage at Iran’s ‘regime of discrimination’

In the latest attempt to bring awareness to the conflict, students at UVic participated in a worldwide rally organized by Iranian Scholars for Liberty on Nov. 30.

Global protests have seen Iranian women, particularly students and women who work, remove their hijabs, cut their hair and reject religious extremism.

More than 50 people gathered in front of McPherson Library to show solidarity with these protests.

“We have Iranian scholars all over the world,” said UVic organizer Sepideh Azadbakht. “We actually use our academic background to immigrate. A lot of us have immigrated just because of the government. The ones that have stayed in Iran have been suppressed. There are a lot of scholars in prison, so a lot of us have escaped.”

The main goals for the Iranian Scholars for Liberty include developing connections among Iranian academics and amplifying the voice of Iranians, as well as bringing awareness to the Iranian movement, Azadbakht said.

After the revolution broke out in Iran, Azadbakht said scholars across the world with Iranian backgrounds wanted to figure out how they could help the movement.

“We want our voices to be heard,” she said.

Primarily, the group works to increase protection for students in Iran who wish to study subjects that are not government-approved and advocates for the release of prisoners who are incarcerated for being scholars.

UVic was among 200 other universities and colleges to participate in this global demonstration.

“It’s important because people are dying in Iran,” said Setareh Alpour Kashi, who helped organize the rally. “We are doing as much as we can to spread their voice. We are trying to do what we can.”

Azadbakht said those who want to help locally can follow the Iranian Scholars for Liberty on social media but it is important to put pressure on those with more power, like the United Nations.

“Email United Nations to put more pressure on the Iranian regime, email politicians to ask them to act against the Islamic Republic,” Azadbakht said. “Just be the voice of Iran, because they are being really suppressed and mass-murdered.”

READ ALSO: Iranians in Victoria rally against government killings, in support of women


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