PARIS — Thousands of people marched in Paris on Sunday to show their support for Iranian protesters standing up to their leadership over the death of a young woman in police custody. A number of female demonstrators cut chunks from their hair, and then threw them into the air in a gesture to liberate.
After marching through Paris, women of Iranian descent, leading political figures and feminist groups from France joined the Republique Plaza gathering.
“Woman, Life, Liberty!” the crowd chanted, undeterred by the rainy weather. Some banners read: “Freedom for Iranian women,” or “No to Obligatory Hijab” or just the young woman’s name: “#Mahsa Amini.”
This protest was one of many in France to support Iranian demonstrators. It appeared to be their latest. Other countries have seen protests by Iranians as well.
Thousands of Iranians have taken to the streets over the last two weeks to protest the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman who had been detained by Iran’s morality police in the capital of Tehran for allegedly not adhering to Iran’s strict Islamic dress code.
Protesters vented anger at the treatment of women in Iran and wider repression. The demonstrations resulted in calls to overthrow the Islamic Republic’s clerical regime that has been ruling Iran since 1979.
At the Paris protest, some chanted in Persian and French, “Khomenei get out!” — referring to Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Khomenei. Some women’s cheeks bore drawings of a red poppy, the symbol of a martyr in Iran.
French scholar Iris Farkhondeh is 40 years old and came as refugee to France when she was just a baby. She expressed concern about growing Islamist extremism, the possibility of religious extremist terrorist attacks, and her fear for France.
“The battle we fight in Iran is the same as that in France,” she said.
Other protesters described anger at Iran’s dress codes and encroaching restrictions on women. Many were afraid of naming their relatives in Iran because they might be repercussions.
Romane Ranjbaran was 28 years old when she protested with her mom and other relatives.
”Iran is part and parcel of my history. My mom knew free Iran, when women were free,” she said.
She said she was happy to see so many people at Sunday’s gathering.
“It is an international fight. If we want the situation in Iran to improve, we need international support,” she said.
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