Kelowna, B.C. residents rally in support of Iran for eighth consecutive week

Click to play video: 'Dozens rally in support of Iran in Kelowna'
Dozens rally in support of Iran in Kelowna
It was another strong showing of support in Kelowna for the Iranian community, as another 'Humans Rights Drive' took to the streets Saturday afternoon. With unrest continuing in Iran, those at the rally feel it's up to them to give a voice to those who cannot speak freely. Jayden Wasney reports. – Dec 3, 2022

For the eighth week in a row, dozens of Kelowna, B.C., residents demonstrated their support for those in Iran, who continue to face government repression.

Rallies like this have been happening around the world since the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was detained by Iran’s “morality police” for not wearing her hijab “correctly.”

“Internet is completely shut down in Iran, there is the highest level of censorship, and they are putting their lives in their hands to protect their liberty and to gain their freedom,” explained organizer and UBCO professor, Ray Taheri.

“The least we can do is show our support.”

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The event kicked off in the parking lot of UBC Okanagan, where demonstrators could be seen waving flags and attaching signs to their vehicles before forming a convoy on Highway 97 — enroute to downtown Kelowna.

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Taheri thanked the community for showing solidarity with those who don’t have the freedom to express themselves.

“I’m so happy that there are lots of non-Persian people, nice people in Kelowna that have joined us,” explained Taheri.

“I’m very thankful to them, and I would like to ask them to continue to support this movement.”

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Calls included for women’s rights to be restored in Iran, which is a primary focus for demonstrators at these rallies. One woman who moved from Iran to Kelowna says she’s devasted to see what’s happening to her friends and family back home.

“Ninety-five per cent of my family and friends still live in Iran,” said Saba Shahriari.

“The simplest thing that you do, you are being put in prison or you’re being killed. It’s just terrible to think about a country with all this beauty and wealth going through such a thing.”

Given the continuous conflict in Iran, many protestors in Kelowna say they won’t be letting up anytime soon.

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“Every Saturday until we see freedom,” said Masoud Ghaffarizad.

“It doesn’t matter how long it takes; we are here.”

The next rally in support of Iran will be held on Monday, December 5, starting at 11:30 a.m. at the UBCO campus.

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