‘It’s a war on women’: Protestors gather in Cardiff city centre to oppose Mahsa Amini’s death

Protestors chanted ‘Freedom for Iran’

On Saturday 1st October, a protest against the death of Mahsa Amini and the treatment of Iranian women took place in Cardiff City Centre.

The protest centred on the recent death of an Iranian woman named Mahsa Amini, 22, who was detained and killed by “morality police” in Iran for allegedly not complying with the country’s hijab laws. The Iranian government claimed she died due to underlying health conditions but many people across the world, family members included believe that she was murdered.

Protestors walked from Millenium Walk, near the Principality Stadium through the city centre holding placards that included phrases such as “Freedom 4 Iran”, “Women, Life, Freedom” and “Enough is Enough”. They also chanted these phrases throughout the march, as well as chanting “Mahsa Amini”.

One man stood on a bench and cut off his hair in a show of solidarity, as has been done recently by many people across the globe including Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe.

Whilst there were police present and concerns of opposition, the protest was peaceful and many cars that passed honked their horns in support of the marchers.

Ellie Cooper, the co-president of Student Action for Refugees (STAR), who was present at the protest told The Cardiff Tab: “The Iranian women at the protest chanted and sang with such passion and pain. I have never attended a more emotive protest.”

She continued by saying: “For personal reasons: as a woman and an intersectional feminist I am genuinely outraged by the mandatory wearing of the hijab in Iran and how severe and disproportionate the punishment is for wearing it slightly incorrectly. It is a war on women and on liberty.

“Also, I have been volunteering at STAR’s conversation classes for the past year and have become good friends with refugees from Iran. Many had fled the nation because they felt unsafe. Several risked their lives to flee Iran and have sadly had to leave many family members behind. I felt personally connected to this protest as I have witnessed the refugee consequence of the Iranian regime.”

We also spoke to Haya Al-Sheikh, STAR’s other co-president who explained that she attended the protest as although she grew up as a Muslim in Muslim country she never wore the hijab as she was given a choice on whether to do so. She believes the choice to wear what you want is a basic human right.

Em Hasling, president of the Cardiff University Feminist Society, who was also present at the event told writers: “The protest was incredibly moving and a powerful moment. Seeing such a force of people come out to spread awareness and fight for Iranian freedom was truly inspiring.

“As a committee, we were overcome with the amount of participants that joined the Feminist Society and Cardiff STAR walking group. It was a powerful protest and we will continue to say her name, Mahsa Amini.”

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