SAN DIEGO — Mahsa Amini died in Iranian police custody a year ago today after they arrested her for not properly wearing a hijab. Her death sparked an uprising in Iran and protests worldwide, including in San Diego County. Friday afternoon a group gathered to celebrate Mahsa Amini's life and continue the global call to action for the Iranian people: Woman, Life, Freedom.
Attendee Parnian Sartip said she must participate in Friday’s protest because her life and the lives of so many other Iranians depend on it.
"It's just to think that people in Iran face death so easily,” she said. “It just breaks my heart, not because they're dead but because this is the only way they can be free.”
Parnian reflected on the young lives lost in Iran during demonstrations as she pointed at a display of those killed.
“She was 19. She was my age, and I think I could be in her place," Parnian said.
Parnian was born in Iran and came to the United States with her family as a child. She said she's thankful to live in a country where she can be free to express herself but knows that for too many young women her age in her home country, self-expression could land you in jail or worse.
"Would I be one of them?” Parnian asked as she pointed to the display of young lives lost in Iranian demonstrations.
“The hard truth to know is that yes, probably is so absolutely shattering," she said.
Protests against Iran's regime have spread worldwide across the Middle East, including here in San Diego. Protests in Iran have turned deadly, with Iranian authorities putting the total number of those killed at demonstrations over 700, and more than 30,000 people have been arrested.
Bahram Maher is organizing the Commemoration of Mahsa Amini’s life and protest on Friday afternoon.
"They are fighting for their freedom, and we are here to support them," he said of Iranian demonstrators.
Maher also said 'Woman, Life, Freedom' fits as their rallying cry because "a woman started the very first demonstration against the regime in Iran." Maher is hopeful that Iran can finally have peace if Iranians pull together and fight for it.
"People cannot take it anymore, and honestly, they don't have much to lose anymore," he said.
Parnian said she would have been considered a fully-grown woman at age 9 if she was still in Iran.
"This keeps happening repeatedly, and children are at the greatest risk," she said. "There is no way to reason with the regime. Even with some reform, they have to go because they have broken too many hearts, destroyed too many lives, and killed too many people with bright futures."
The group tells CBS 8 that inaction is, in fact, action, and they're hoping their support by protesting here in San Diego will be felt in Iran as they continue their fight for liberation. Protest organizers tell us they do not support the White House's current policy on Iran and want Congress to step in and act.
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