Dozens of demonstrators gathered in Wenceslas Square in support of the Iranian people this past Saturday, October 1, 2022, dubbed the day of global protests for Iran.
This comes days after the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year old Kurdish woman detained and tortured by the morality police, leading to her death, which has sparked protests and civil unrest throughout Iran spearheaded by women, as well as inspired demonstrations around the world in solidarity with those fighting for their rights.
Performances and speeches were held, concluding with an open mic for demonstrators to share their support and concerns.
Iranian artist, Soroush Sanaeinezhad, captivated the crowd with his performance entitled “Woman, Life, Freedom.” He used a hammer to nail pieces of black fabric to his painting, pictured below. He expressed how the Islamic Republic has been futile in its efforts to oppress women’s rights to their own bodies by bringing down the hammer of oppression and nailing more cover on them every time they yearn for their freedom.
Women that were a part of the performance would rip the pieces of black fabric from the painting every time Sanaeinezhad would pause. This symbolized their resistance. They planned for only one woman to cut off a lock of her hair, which has become a symbol of solidarity with civil unrest. However, other women that participated in the performance joined her.
“I believe it was the most powerful and emotional part of the performance,” Sanaeinezhad said.
The performance culminated with the women participating lifting the painting, now without any black fabric representing cover, and chanting “Woman, Life, Freedom.”
A particularly impactful performance was that of Naghmeh Shojaei, an Iranian singer and organizer of the demonstration. As she sang, an actor in a black hood paced around the podium. Suddenly, the actor lunged at Shojaei. The crowd came to a standstill as we wondered if this was planned. They struggled, with the actor throwing Shojaei to the ground at one point. The performance was staged, as evidenced by the two stopping and addressing the crowd, but this did not take away from its impact. We saw the struggle of Iranian women resisting the Islamic Regime before our own eyes, and joined in chanting for their freedom.
Say her name: Mahsa Amini and Woman, Life, Freedom, Žena, Život, Svoboda in Czech and Zan, Zindagi, Azadeh in Farsi, echoed throughout Wenceslas Square. Photos from the scene show the gravity of support, dozens of signs laid at the foot of the statue of Saint Wenceslaus, a site of demonstrations for progressive change throughout history. Wenceslas Square has the power to inspire passion and change in demonstrators, to inspire individuals to seek change. It is no different with Iran.
It is critical to uplift Iranian voices in discussion, in protest and especially online. Keeping the people of Iran in the news cycle will show protestors the world stands with them and will continue to stand with them until change is realized.
Support the people in Iran. Use #MahsaAmini. Use #WomanLifeFreedom. Use your platform, regardless of how many followers you may have and continue to uplift Iranian women and protestors from abroad. Place the people of Iran in your thoughts as well as your actions.