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‘Pain on the other side of the world is pain in Canada too’: Iranian freedom protest in Kelowna

The protest, sparked by the death of Mahsa Amin, was held in Kelowna on Oct. 1

Iranians and Persians in Kelowna want their family back home to be free from persecution for practicing their basic human rights under the current regime.

Keyvan Khadem, a Persian who moved to Canada at 11, explained that the Oct. 1 protest held in Kelowna was to encourage political action against the Iranian government.

“We were there to grab the public’s attention,” said Khadem.

The protests come after the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old who allegedly died while in custody of the Iranian ‘morality police’ for wearing a headscarf that was too loose.

READ MORE: ‘Every one of us was a Mahsa’: Iranians in Canada cut hair at women’s rights rallies

Khadem said that Amini’s death was not an isolated incident. The difference is that her story was captured and spread over social media, urging people to demand change for Iranian people.

“It was kind of like a spark…people are realizing that pain on the other side of the world is pain in Canada, too.”

He said that people are demanding not only for the freedom of expression, to wear what they want, but also for the freedom of sexual orientation and to practice religion other than Islam without fear of persecution.

He believes that oppressive regimes like the Islamic Republic of Iran are a cancer that must be cut out of society everywhere, and that the unity of all nations is important in ensuring freedom for people around the world.

Dan Albas, MP for Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola, has helped a group of Persians in Kelowna develop a legal petition that will be presented at the House of Commons.

Albas has agreed to sponsor the petition, should it be accepted, said his office. Once the petition is approved and sponsored, it will be open for signature for 30 days before being reviewed. The petition calls on the federal government to make the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) a terrorist organization. The petition also calls for the government to seize the assets and deport members of the IRGC in Canada.


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Jacqueline Gelineau

About the Author: Jacqueline Gelineau

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