Houston

Houston Iranians speak out as crackdown on protests over woman’s death continue

The young 22-year-old student died after being arrested by the Iranian morality police for not wearing her hijab correctly.

Celeste Schurman / Houston Public Media
Demonstrators at City Hall in downtown Houston march in support of the protests that erupted in Iran triggered by the death of a 22-year-old woman, who died last month after being arrested by the "morality police" for allegedly violating the country's strict dress code laws.

Over the weekend hundreds of Iranians gathered in downtown Houston in support of demonstrations in Iran over the past few weeks.

Local Iranians say this is the least they can do as growing outrage continues over Iran's deadly crackdown on anti-government protests. The large group chanted, "say her name, Mahsa Amini". The young 22-year-old student died after being arrested by the Iranian morality police for not wearing her hijab correctly.

One female demonstrator, who wanted to stay anonymous was wearing a shirt that read, "women, life, freedom," said activists are calling for the regime change in Iran for its human rights violations.

"This is about women's freedom. It is not about small change in Iran. We want the whole regime to be gone, that is the demand here and we are not going to stop until we get there. We do not want Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader, we don't want Islam anymore over the country."

Another local demonstrator who didn't want to give her name said she wants to stand alongside the people of her country during this crucial time in Iran.

Celeste Schurman / Houston Public Media
Demonstrators at City Hall in downtown Houston march in support of the protests that erupted in Iran triggered by the death of a 22-year-old woman, who died last month after being arrested by the "morality police" for allegedly violating the country's strict dress code laws.

"We are just people living in Houston, Iranian people living in Houston who feel for the country. We cannot go there and fight beside them. We are just here to say, we are with them and if we could, we would fight with them, we would die with them," she said. "People are fighting for democracy. People want to have their rights, their voice." The young woman's 10-year-old daughter said, she with her mom, "to show her support for the brave women of Iran who do not deserve this."

Protests driven by young women across Iran continue to sweep the country, defying the governments pushback. The last time the Islamic Republic faced this type of challenge was during the 1979 revolution.

A young woman who said she was a graduate student at the University of Houston and preferred to also stay anonymous had one mission for being at the rally which was to, "be the voice of our people."

Houston has one of the largest population of Iranians and Iranian expats in Texas, with around 70,000 who live in the area.

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