SAN DIEGO — Dozens of Iranian and American flags swayed in Balboa Park Saturday afternoon during a rally to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the death of Mahsa Amini in Iran.
The 22-year-old woman died in police custody after she was arrested for allegedly violating Iran’s mandatory headscarf, or Hijab, law. The incident sparked worldwide protests against the country’s conservative Islamic theocracy.
On the anniversary of her death, hundreds gathered in Pan American Plaza to call for justice.
“It’s heartbreaking,” said Bibi Kasrai, a spokesperson for the San Diego Iranians. “I have been working for the past four to five months with young kids who are my kids’ age — they have been blinded (by the Iranian government), they shoot beautiful girls in the eyes.”
In the year after her death, Kasrai says the Iranian regime has attempted to quash all displays of public discontent.
Ahead of the anniversary, people across Iran reported a heavy security presence to prevent further protests, according to the Associated Press. Amini’s father was also detained outside his home after the family indicated that they planned to gather at her grave for a traditional service of commemoration, reports added.
“We have to keep Mahsa Amini‘s legacy alive, so people don’t forget she gave her life,” Kasrai said. “Kids are giving their lives. This is the Gen Z of Iran — they’re giving their lives, they’re giving the light of their eyes.”
The slogan for Saturday’s rally was “Women, Life, Freedom.” It gave attendees a chance to show their support and raise awareness.
Kasrai has organized countless protests in San Diego to encourage change in Iran and bring it to the attention of Western countries.
“The same way they have banded to put so many sanctions against Russia,” she said, “I think they should do that with Iran, with the regime.”