Story by Kristen Hackbarth | Photos and video by Ty O’Neil
Members of northern Nevada’s Iranian community gathered Sunday to protest the current regime in Iran, which they say is not a legitimate government in the country.
Dozens lined the sidewalk at McCarran Boulevard and South Virginia Street with signs and chants. Demonstrators were voicing support for a regime change in the country along with greater freedom for women.
Sogol Mirzaeenejade helped to organize the protest. She also helped pull together a march in late October from the University of Nevada, Reno through downtown, also to protest the Iranian regime.
“We are gathered here in solidarity with our brave brothers and sisters back in Iran who have been fighting over the past 70 days against the worst government the world has ever seen,” Mirzaeenejade said. “The only weapon that they have is their hope and courage.”
Reno’s protests are just two of many others that have taken place globally since Sept. 16. Over the weekend, the US Soccer team waded into controversy when it posted a modified version of Iran’s flag on its social media accounts in support of the protesters and women’s rights.
The unrest began when 22-year-old Mahsa Amini was arrested and killed by Iran’s morality police, who said she was wearing her hijab improperly.
Protests first erupted in Iran, with more than 90,000 people – including school children – joining the cause. Demonstrators at first demanded an end to required hijabs and used signs and chants that said “Woman, Life, Freedom. Their message expanded to demand an overthrow of the current government, shifting from a religion-based government to a secular one.
More than 500 people have died in Iran during the protests and more than 1,100 have been injured.