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Iranian community in Victoria remembers anniversary of Mahsa Amini's death

Members of the Iranian-Canadian community in Victoria gathered in front of the B.C. legislature Saturday to mark the anniversary of a young woman’s death that sparked global protests one year ago.

Mahsa Amini, 22, died in police custody after being arrested for allegedly not properly wearing her hijab in Tehran, Iran.

Nahid, a rally organizer who asked her last name to be withheld out of concern about state retribution, said that the rally is for those who can no longer protest freely and safely in Iran.

“One of my friends lost her mom and she couldn’t go back,” she said. “Imagine that you are losing the chance to be at your mom’s funeral because you’re fighting the regime.”

Nahid, a PhD candidate, said that the students she teaches in university classes here in Victoria often remind her of the students who have died in the protests in Iran.

“We are not a stone. We are not a brick. It affects us daily,” she said. “Every time I talk about the homeland, I just start crying.”

On Saturday, Canada sanctioned six more senior Iranian officials from entering Canada or having holdings in the country, the 14th round of sanctions the federal government has imposed on Iran in the past 11 months.

Nahid said that there has to be a more comprehensive level of sanctions.

“We are seeing [Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps] members coming to Canada and buying houses here, they are staying here, they are bringing their death money here,” she said. “The fact that they are coming here and walking in the streets here — intimidating people here — it’s not fine.”

Currently, 31 entities and 129 people associated with the Iranian government have been targeted.

In the past year, about 500 people have been killed in Iran as authorities attempted to crack down on the widespread protest movement. More than 22,000 were detained, according to rights groups. Demonstrations have largely died down this year, but widespread signs of discontent continue.

— With files from The Canadian Press and The Associated Press

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