TW: mentions of police brutality and violence

All faces in photos have been blurred to protect protesters’ identities.

On September 16, 2022, protests erupted across Iran after a 22-year-old Iranian woman named Mahsa Amini was killed by the Islamic “morality police” for wearing her hijab “improperly.”1 In response to the death of Mahsa Amini, Kelowna was one of many cities across the globe to rally in solidarity with protesters in Iran on October 1, 2022. In addition to this, the UBCO Persian Club took steps to inform those unfamiliar with the events that are unfolding in Iran by setting up a booth on campus on October 5.

Provided by Lois Chan

Mahsa Amini was reportedly in Tehran for leisure, travelling from the Kurdistan region of Iran. She was detained on September 13, then passed away on September 16. Authorities claimed her death was due to pre-existing medical conditions. However, her family attests that she was healthy, and she was seen with bruises on her legs after her detention. The circumstances of Mahsa Amini’s death led to large-scale protests around the freedom of choice to wear a hijab. Beginning on September 21, internet access in Tehran and other Iranian cities was blocked periodically.2 On October 3, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei dismissed these protests as “riots” that were orchestrated by Israel and the US.3

As of October 8, Iran Human Rights estimates that 185 people have been killed because of these protests; at least 19 of them were children.4

A speaker at the Kelowna rally talked about the goal of the movement:

“It’s not about wearing or not wearing a hijab. It’s about the freedom of choice. It’s about the fact that in this global village, women and men should decide what to wear, where to wear it, and how to wear it.”

Provided by Ronnie Cheng

A student protester explained why Iran needs the support of those around the world now more than ever:

“Three years ago, when people went out to protest, the Iranian government shut down the Internet and killed 1500 people. Ten days of massacre in silence. But not this time, no. They shut down the Internet again. This time, people of Iran have everyone around the world to be their voices. 

“They are murdering the protesters — men, women, children — brave people of Iran are actually in a war right now. They are arresting everyone for any reason — for protesting, for having breakfast without a scarf in a café, who are speaking, reporting, singing. But we should all be Iranian people’s voice.”

The student talked about how Iran is now at a “point of no return;” that the Islamic Republic of Iran will only take stronger measures against protesters, and that Iranians need the support and voices of those around the world to hold them accountable to their actions.

Provided by Ronnie Cheng

For non-Iranian supporters of the movement, the student protester had the following message:

“My non-Iranian friends, this is not just a war for Iran. This is a fight for human rights, for feminism, for freedom of speech, and for tolerance of different views. 

People of the world have only each other to rely on for help and support. I am begging you to talk about this. To post on Twitter, Instagram, use the hashtags of Mahsa Amini, to share the story.”

Social media has great power in disseminating information, especially for social movements. However, another protester argued that sharing information and using hashtags alone are insufficient.

On top of sharing infographics on Instagram stories, they encourage people to attend rallies, to add to the conversation by voicing support, and to take actual action by speaking up about the movement. 

As an easy way to start taking action, rally organizers provided a link to a template for writing to local representatives.

The UBCO community is also encouraged to follow the Persian Club (@ubcopersianclub) on Instagram to learn more about how to support the fight in Iran.

One of the most repeated slogans at the Kelowna rally was “Say her name, Mahsa Amini.” It is clear that the movement needs the world to remember this moment in history and to ensure that everyone is aware of Amini’s death. 


1 Perry, Tom. “Events in Iran since Mahsa Amini's Arrest and Death in Custody.”

2 Perry, Tom. “Events in Iran since Mahsa Amini's Arrest and Death in Custody.”

3 Motamedi, Maziar. “Iran's Khamenei Blames Israel, US in First Comments on Protests.” 

4 “Iran Protests: at Least 185 Killed/19 Children Amongst Dead.”


“Iran Protests: at Least 185 Killed/19 Children Amongst Dead.” Iran Human Rights, 8 Oct. 2022, link. Accessed 10 Oct. 2022. 

Motamedi, Maziar. “Iran's Khamenei Blames Israel, US in First Comments on Protests.” Aljazeera, 3 Oct. 2022, link. Accessed 10 Oct. 2022. 

Perry, Tom. “Events in Iran since Mahsa Amini's Arrest and Death in Custody.” Reuters, 5 Oct. 2022, link. Accessed 10 Oct. 2022.