Nearly 100 members of Boise’s Iranian-American community and supporters rallied on the Idaho Capitol steps Saturday afternoon, one in a series of protests in major cities across the world sparked by the death of a young woman in the Iranian capital last month for allegedly defying the regime’s rules governing women’s public appearance.
“Woman! Life! Freedom!” demonstrators chanted in unison, demanding the end of Islamic law and the liberation of the Islamic Republic of Iran from its authoritarian leaders. “Democracy in Iran!”
Impassioned rally attendees waved mini-tricolor flags for the original state of Iran and brought homemade signs with messages including “Free Iran! Be our voice!” Others passed out printed images of Mahsa Amini, the 22-year-old Iranian woman who died Sept. 16 in Tehran under disputed circumstances, and also assembled a small memorial with flowers and candles dedicated to her on the Capitol steps.
“Say her name!” shouted attendees, taking turns leading the group and switching between chants in English and Farsi, the language of Western Iran. “Justice for Iran! Justice for Mahsa!”
Afagh Faramarzi, 30, of Meridian, helped organize Saturday’s hourlong event. She arrived as a teenager to the Treasure Valley from the south-central Iranian city of Shiraz, she told the Idaho Statesman.
“I am angry. I cry a lot,” Faramarzi told rallygoers in welcoming remarks. “I am worried. I am hopeful. … I am a woman of Iran.”
She called on Idaho’s federal lawmakers to help advocate against the Iranian government and hold the Middle Eastern country’s leadership accountable.
The U.S. Department of State officially labels Iran as a brutal, dangerous regime, and “the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism.”
Amini was arrested last month by Iran’s so-called “morality police,” who strictly enforce the Muslim country’s dress code for women. Since the Iranian Revolution in 1979, women and girls over the age of 9 have been required to wear loose fitting clothes and headscarves, known as hijabs, out in public.
Amini reportedly traveled to the nation’s capital with family from her home in the Kurdistan Province near the border with Iraq. Following her arrest, police said she collapsed after suffering a heart attack and fell into a coma. She died at a hospital three days later.
Members of Amini’s family reject the narrative from state authorities that she had underlying health conditions and have instead said she was beaten and tortured. Daily protests have raged throughout the country since, with police arresting hundreds of people, with still dozens more reportedly dead.
In the wake of ongoing protests, Iran’s regime also has worked to block the internet and reportedly detained dozens of journalists, including Niloufar Hamedi, the reporter who first brought Amini’s case to light.
Since 2000, 345 refugees from Iran have arrived to Idaho, though none in the last year, according to the Idaho Office For Refugees. The state’s largest resettlement cities include Boise, Twin Falls and Pocatello.
The Biden administration last week committed to admitting up to 125,000 refugees into the U.S. from across the world through next summer. Combined, the grouped regions of Europe and Central Asia, and the Near East/South Asia are allotted up to 50,000 slots.
For 2022, the U.S. also set its annual cap at 125,000, though the number of refugees who have entered the country this year is about 15,000, the Washington, D.C.-based Migration Policy Institute reports.
More than 1,200 of those refugees from 18 countries, primarily from Afghanistan, Ukraine and the Democratic Republic of Congo, resettled in Idaho over the past year. The Idaho Office For Refugees expects about 1,075 more refugee arrivals in the state over the next year, which is on par for averages in Idaho over the past 20 years, according to Holly Beech, a spokesperson for the agency.
“Here in Idaho and across the country we’ve seen a renewed sense of urgency to help displaced people, which has reached record highs,” she told the Statesman by email. “A healthy resettlement program provides a pathway for people to rebuild their lives in safety, reunite with family, and create stronger communities and economies.”
Original News : https://news.yahoo.com/woman-life-freedom-boise-rally-213053760.html