CHICAGO (WLS) — For weeks Chicago’s Iranian community has held demonstrations in support of the ongoing protests in Iran against their government.
UIC law student Sepideh Sanie believes it’s her duty to speak out.
“As people who live in the free world, the only thing we can do is be their voice,” Sanie said.
Iranians began taking to the streets in September after the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in police custody. She died three days after the morality police arrested her for allegedly wearing a hijab improperly.
Saba Niaki knows firsthand the fear Iranian women have of the morality police.
“I personally had the same experience interacting with these morality police officers. I just got lucky that this didn’t happen to me,” she said.
Women have been driving the demonstrations, some ripping off their headscarves. But Iranian-American Farid Kossari said the demonstrations are about much more than head coverings.
“It was like 44 years of like pressure, 44 years of zero freedom, 44 years of killing and torturing and everything. People are saying enough is enough,” he said.
Speaking up in Iran can be dangerous, sometimes deadly.
The White House has denounced the crackdown by Iranian security forces against peaceful protests.
“My concern is right now is about everybody who is on the streets of Iran, not just my family, not the people that I know,” Niaki said.
Some local demonstrators said it’s been difficult to raise awareness about what’s happening in Iran.
“It has been surprising how there has been a lack of support for people of Iran in Chicago,” she said.
Arian Khoroushi has been recording the local demonstrations and sharing them on social media, hoping to garner more support from the public and elected officials.
“It’s very important that people can hear us and do something about it,” Khoroushi said.
This weekend they will continue to protest in Downtown Chicago for change halfway around the world. The Freedom Rally for Iran is scheduled Saturday at 3 p.m. at Michigan and East Van Buren.
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