Sunday marks the three-year anniversary of the downing of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752, and a rally was held in North Vancouver, B.C.
The Association of Families of Flight PS752 organized a global event on Sunday, with rallies held in more than 100 cities across the world.
In North Vancouver, thousands of people participated and showed their support for the group’s cause.
The association said its mission is to unite the victims’ families and seek justice.
Hamidreza Borghei spoke with Global News on Sunday. He lost his sister and several other family members, including a six-year-old child in the downing of Ukraine Airlines Flight PS752.
“I lost my sister, her husband, her husband’s sister, and the sister’s daughter,“ he said.
Borghei said he and his family were some of the first civilians at the crash site.
“We got the co-ordinates of where the plane had crashed. We drove into the middle of the desert near a village. We were one of the first civilians on the scene that had relatives on the plane,” Borghei said.
“They wouldn’t tell us where they took the remains.”
Crowds gathered on a rainy Sunday at Rey Sargent Park and marched down Lonsdale Ave. to the Shipbuilders’ Square, where a main event took place.
Arman Abtahi, one of the organizers of North Vancouver’s rally, spoke to Global News. He lost his brother in the incident.
“The name of this rally is ‘Justice Prevails,’” he said.
“We are here to join the revolution in Iran and we want to be a voice of unity crying for help, justice and freedom.”
Organizers said they believe more than 5,000 people were at the North Vancouver rally, Sunday afternoon.
B.C. Premier David Eby was also in attendance.
“I think you can see with the amount of people gathered here, British Columbian’s are profoundly concerned, not just with the downing of Flight 752 and unanswered questions families have, but also what’s happening in the streets of Iran right now.”
Eby made a special announcement on Sunday afternoon. The B.C. government, with the City of North Vancouver, have pledged $100K to build a monument in honour of the victims of Flight 752.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gave his condolences to the victims and families of Flight 752.
“The entire Canadian family shares in your sadness,” said Trudeau.
“On this day and every day, we continue to be here with you.”
Trudeau said the Canadian government along with its international partners is “taking concrete action to ensure Iran is held accountable for its egregious and unlawful downing of Flight PS752.”
On Jan. 8, 2020, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps shot the plane down shortly after takeoff from Tehran, killing all 176 passengers and crew aboard.
Fifty-five Canadian citizens and 30 permanent residents died in the disaster.
The final report from Iran’s civil aviation body blamed “human error” for the incident, claiming a missile operator misidentified the airliner as a “hostile target” amid rising tensions with the U.S., and fired without getting approval from a superior — a report criticized by victims’ families worldwide.
The plane was destroyed after being struck by two missiles fired 30 seconds apart.
Among the Canadian victims were doctors, dentists, academics, a six-year-old child and a newlywed couple.