Iranian-Canadians in London, Ont. protest against injustices in their home country

Iranian-Canadians and supporters line Richmond Street. Kate Otterbein / Global News

London, Ont.’s Iranian-Canadians gathered in Victoria Park to protest against the injustices happening in their home country.

Hundreds lined Richmond Street with signs and flags as many cars drove by, honking their horns in solidarity.

“What’s happening in Iran right now is the result of 44 years of pent-up emotions and anger,” said Sam Roodi, a protestor and Fanshawe College professor. “This time, we feel it’s different because this revolution is led by women, a lot of school children and university students are involved, a lot of workers are involved.”

Roodi said people have been killed in the streets of Iran. Across Canada, Iranians are fighting for it to end.

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“Not only are they killing our people, they are killing people in Syria, in Iraq, in Lebanon, in Yemen. This is the mandate of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards. It is stated in the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran that they need to export the Islamic Revolution to the world,” Roodi said.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guards control 40 per cent of Iran’s economy. The purpose of the protests across Canada is to create awareness of the issues among politicians.

“We are asking the governments in the West to do something about that. They need to freeze their assets in Canada, in the United States, and European countries. The Iranian government is like the Russian government. It’s like an oligarchy,” Roodi said.

In London, these protests happen every Saturday afternoon. They continue to fight to be heard.

“It’s so difficult for us [as women],” said Besat Zardosht, a member of the Iranian community in London. “These past few months have been really difficult. Seeing the news, I am filled with so much sadness and anger.”
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Although Zardosht feels helpless here in Canada while Iranians fight for their lives, she feels hopeful that there will be change.

“I hope for our voices to be heard by the Canadian government. Don’t support the Iran regime, do not accept them as our representative, because they are not. The people in Iran are basically held hostage with this regime,” Zardosht said.

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Member of Parliament for North London, Peter Fragiskatos, appeared and said a few words at the gathering.

“I hear you as a local MP in the city, and the government hears you as well,” said Fragiskatos. “In recent weeks, the government has taken action to address the IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps). We have put in place a sanctions effort to see up to 10,000 IRGC members, any assets they have here frozen, and then excluded from this country.”

Fragiskatos ensured the crowd that he will be taking the message back to Ottawa and bringing it up in parliament.

Iranian-Canadians say the best way to help is to educate yourself on the situation, spread the word verbally and on social media, and follow the hashtags.

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