Hundreds of expatriate Iranians rallied in Paris and other European cities on Saturday to denounce Iran’s crackdown on protests following the death of Mahsa Amini after her arrest by morality police.
The protesters gathered in the central Place du Chatelet in the French capital and chanted slogans against supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and also urged French President Emmanuel Macron to halt negotiations with Iran.
“Khamenei get out of Iran!,” “Macron enough silence!” and “Death to the Islamic republic” were among the slogans shouted by the demonstrators in French and Persian, an AFP reporter said.
The protesters also sung in Persian the Italian protest song “Bella Ciao (Goodbye Beautiful)” which has become popular with supporters of the movement.
They also repeated the viral Persian chants used by protesters inside Iran such as “zan, zendegi, azadi!” (woman, life, freedom!) and also its Kurdish equivalent “jin, jiyan, azadi!” as Amini, also known as Jhina Amini, was Kurdish.
In other protests, Iranian women in Athens cut their hair in a gesture of solidarity with Amini, brandishing placards reading “say her name!”
Demonstrators on Sergels torg in the center of the Swedish capital Stockholm also cut their hair while another group outside the Swedish parliament held up pictures of those killed.
Iran says that 35 people have died in the protests that erupted after the death of Amini but activists say that the number is now over 50 and likely even higher.
Demonstrators in Paris expressed fury that Macron had met and shaken hands with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York this week as Paris seeks to keep the 2015 deal on Tehran's nuclear program alive.
“How can you shake the hands of someone who has committed a crime against humanity?” read a placard brandished by the protesters referring to Raisi’s alleged involvement in the 1988 mass executions of political prisoners in Iran.
“The anger has caught fire and the flames will be impossible to extinguish,” said Mahtab Ghorbani, an exiled poet and writer who lives in France.
“Those who do not speak up will be held responsible and we demand that France stops the negotiations (on the nuclear issue) and closes the Iranian embassy in Paris,” she said.
The protesters are planning to hold a second demonstration on Sunday where they intend to march on the Iranian embassy in Paris.
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