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Toronto: demonstration to 'raise awareness and support the Iranian people'

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On Sunday, Toronto police lined Dundas as parents and children marched, waving Iranian flags and posters of political prisoners like Hojat Shariefi, who has been taken captive by his government. Here are scenes from the demonstration:

A middle-aged woman standing in the back of a pick-up truck leads them. She shouts into her megaphone, ‘Khamenei must be stopped,' and the crowd repeats.

"We are here to raise awareness and support the Iranian people uprising against suppression in their country: they want democracy. The government has killed many people over there in the last 6 months," says protestor Shakour Ghafouri, 58. "They're a religious dictatorship forcibly implementing their own religious decrees on the public. [Iranians] want a secular regime."

"They kill by shooting directly; by running people over with police cars; beating them with clubs...batons. Hundreds of political prisoners have been taken; and they're in bad shape. The government isn't monitored by any outside human rights observation. They are killing, raping, doing whatever they want," he says.

Ghafouri says the horrors don't end there: "They kill people and don't even let their families mourn. If they're lucky, [parents] can get the bodies of their children back, but have to bury them in secret. The government won't allow recognition ceremonies. They want to keep everything hush[ed]."

Since June, the people of Iran have led countless demonstrations "because of the election, where Khamenei, the supreme leader, cheated the election by manipulating the votes," says Ghafouri. "If things don't change soon, people will continue to suffer."

Jessica del Melo writes for Ryerson in the Moment, where this piece was originally published.


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