Dozens of people gathered in Newcastle city center to protest the treatment of Iranians.
A song about freedom was played at the monument around noon as posters held up placards and waved Iranian colored flags
A large sign, held high by two people, read: “In just 2 weeks, 154 people have been killed in the streets for demanding basic human rights. Another sign read, “It’s not just a number. It’s our sisters, our brothers, our children.”
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A third panel raised awareness of three women who had recently lost their lives in the country. These include Mahsa Amini, 22, who is believed to have died after being arrested for wearing an inappropriate hijab.
Parisa Panahi was one of the organizers of the protest. The 37-year-old said people started saying “enough is enough” after the death of Mahsa Amini, who she says was killed because what she was wearing was deemed inappropriate.
Parisa, who lived in Iran until she was 18 but now lives in Heaton, Newcastle, said: “My family moved here and I stayed here because of the rights.
“Last year my brother passed away and because of Iranian rule I couldn’t go to see him. I had no rights without the permission of my child’s father. We are divorced and the father of my little boy didn’t give me permission I couldn’t go to his family funeral.
“On September 16, they killed our 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian and since then people have started saying enough is enough.
“The problem isn’t the hijab, it’s the pressure people have been under for 43 years. I think they’ve had enough of it.
“So many people continue to be killed and so many people continue to be imprisoned. Everyone, but mostly women. This time the movement is from women.
“There is no internet in Iran at the moment so they can’t spread the word, we are trying to be their voice. Our slogan is women, life and freedom.
“We’re going to talk about it a bit, play a song that’s been around about freedom and sing about what people want. The songwriter was also arrested for writing this song.
“We’re trying to come together to raise awareness and tell people exactly what’s going on. We try to be here every week for as long as it takes.”
Behshad Shakoor Nejad Namin took part in the protest on Saturday afternoon. The 38-year-old left his home country of Iran 27 months ago and now lives in the Westerhope area of Newcastle.
He said: “Right now in my country we have a big protest about life, women and freedom. I left because I didn’t agree with the rights. We are worried about my family and for all Iranians.
“I think we can change things. We think we have to be patient and work hard to achieve our goals. We hope to change the government. We need peace and freedom.”
Parisa added: “There are people who say you can’t do anything on this side of the world and there are those who say you can. – It’s heartwarming.
“There are a lot of petitions floating around. Be our voice and spread the word, be with us and share our support.”