A group of Iranian and Belgian political activists, students, and citizens in diaspora gathered in front of the Iranian embassy in Brussels on Friday to show support for their compatriots in Iran.
Nine days into the nationwide uprising in Iran, demonstrations that started in Mashhad have reportedly reached around 90 big and small cities.
Despite scarce internet access, videos on social media tell a different narrative than that of President Hassan Rouhani who called the protesters “a small minority”.
As the protests in Iran continue, there are more and more calls to action in European countries by Iranian activists in diaspora. Demonstrations are mostly take place in front of the Iranian embassies in Europe.
One of these demonstration took place in Brussels, the capital of Europe with participation from Belgian LSP (Left Socialist Party), Iranian feminist organizations, “Women for 8 March” (Afghanistan-Iran), the voice of Ahwazi women.
Also participating was the UNPO (Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization) the membership organization on behalf of Iran ethnic minorities, Belgian Youth Committee, Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (DPIK) and Kurdistan Free Life Party (PJAK)
Mona Silavi, the UNPO’s special envoy for the international campaign for freedom of religion or belief declared her full support of the protesters and added: “We do not want the Revolutionary Guards to spend the resources of our country by interfering in countries like Syria, Yemen, Iraq. The Iranian people and people of Middle East in general deserve to live in democracy just like any European citizen. People in the street need your support, they will remember who supported them in their fight.”
According to one of the organizers: “The reason for this gathering is to show our solidarity with the Iranian people. We do not believe in the discourse that that has been going around that opposition outside does not get a say in what is going on inside the country, we are forced to live in exile, that does not mean we do not have any responsibility when it comes to the future of our country. The role of the opposition outside of the country was essential in the overthrow of the Shah. We heard what people are chanting in the street and we repeat it, the need for ‘bread, jobs and freedom.’”
A representative of Belgian LSP declared his solidarity with the people of Iran, adding that the protests should not only be directed toward Iranian government, but also European legislators and politicians.
“I recommend that a list of be created with the name of companies owned by Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and forbade European market from dealing with them,” the representative said.
Protesters in Brussels carried the photos of some of the students who were arrested yesterday during the protest in Tehran universities and called for their release.
The demonstrations had a death toll of 50 according to reports from activists, out of which only 22 are confirmed by government officials. In addition, there are currently approximately 1,700 reported arrests.