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'We won't back down': Protest outside human rights museum calls for change in Iran

Calls for freedom echoed outside the Canadian Museum for Human Rights as dozens condemned human rights violations against women in Iran – this on the one year anniversary of the death of a Kurdish-Iranian woman.

Mahsa Amini's name has become a call for change and uprising on the lips of dozens of protesters in Winnipeg, across Canada and around the world.

"Her name is the code for anyone sacrificing their lives for fundamental change. Mahsa Amini's name is the code for the liberation of Iran," Arian Arianpour, the president of the Iranian Community of Manitoba, said Saturday.

The 22-year-old Kurdish-Iranian woman was arrested by Iranian authorities for allegedly violating Iran's headscarf law – a law requiring women to cover their hair in public. She died on Sept. 16, 2022, after supporters say she was beaten by police. Her death sparked protests around the world against the Iranian government, all under the banner – Woman Life Freedom.

"This very moment that we're talking there are people on the streets, protesting on the anniversary of the killing of Mahsa Amini," Arianpour said. "We are here to show everyone including the Government of Canada that we won't back down and we will keep our voice up."

It is a fight that hits close to home for many at the protest.

Kourosh Doustshenas' fiancée Dr. Forough Khadem was among 176 people killed when Ukrainian International Airlines Flight 752 was shot down by Iran's Revolutionary Guard in January 2020.

Doustshenas said he was at the protest Saturday to remember his fiancée and anyone else killed amid the violence.

"I'm here for the victims of this brutal regime. Mahsa Amini is the famous name, but there are many, many people who we've never yet heard their names who are being brutally killed under this regime," he said. "We are here to remember all of them."

Meanwhile inside the museum, a new exhibit was unveiled echoing the calls – Woman Life Freedom.

The banner, created by Iranian-Canadian Artist Hajar Moradi, is made to look like cut braided hair – a form of protest in and of itself.

"This is a story of solidarity and raising awareness about the issues Iranian women are facing currently, which is their fundamental rights being taken away," Angeliki Bogiatji, the museum's interpretive program developer, told CTV News.

The Woman-Life-Freedom exhibit at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights is on display until March 10 and can be viewed free of charge. Top Stories

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