Protestors Gather In Trafalgar Square Against Iranian “Morality” Police
This article was originally published in our partner organization, Roar News.
These protests started in response to the murder of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman in Iran, who was arrested by the “morality police” for not wearing her headscarf properly, she died shortly after. As told by a protester, “the true story is that she died under torture, that’s what the morality police do”.
Another protester also commented on the morality police, stating that if you don’t abide by their rules you “might get arrested, you might lose your place in university, you might lose your job”. Or, as tragically happened to Mahsa Amini, you might lose your life. This pseudo police force “have been given full authority to use absolute force particularly against women [and] fighting with [them] is a daily routine of Iranian girls and women” the protester continued.
In a way, the supressive nature of the morality police is only one manifestation of the larger supression enforced by the Iranian regime. A protest attendee expressed that “the struggle [in Iran] is beyond belief”. Fear is necessary to maintain the govenment in control, which is why the regime has responded to the protests with force. A protest organizer commented that “in Iran, the first thing you are going to lose [when protesting] is your life”.
Nonetheless, protests are not only continuing in London but also in Tehran and other Iranian cities. Leading the protests are young people, who are “facing a regime which has taken away their aspirations”, the organizer stated, “and this time they want to topple the regime”. He affirms that the protests in London are to support “the brothers and sisters protesting in Iran” and that he is “fighting for a chance to go back to [his] country”.
The protest organizer spoke about how “Hijab is not simply a piece of cloth on your head, this is a tool to control fifty percent of the society, and it is a restraint over your body and over your mind. The fight is not about wearing it or not wearing it, some people protesting on the streets are fully hijab. The fight is about not imposing your belief upon [others] and having the freedom to choose.” Another protester added that ‘it’s not about a few strands of hair, it’s about the power. The regime wants to supress women, don’t let them be, don’t let them speak”.
In the midst of these conversations the crowd chants “democracy in Iran, freedom for Iran!” as well as “woman, life freedom!”. The air is filled with sadness, persistence and hope. Perhaps that is because after all it was in Trafalgar Square, where freedom of speech is largely respected, not the streets of Tehran. Still, the protest organizer says with conviction that “[he] believes this time the uprising is permanent”.