Oklahomans gather to support Iranian protests against the Islamic Republic

“Women. Life. Freedom!”

That was the chant that reverberated throughout Scissortail Park as Oklahomans gathered Thursday to show their support for Iranians protesting the brutality and human rights violations perpetrated by Iran’s Islamic Republic.

Lily Merchaca holds a sign in the arms of her father, John, at a rally to show support for the people of Iran on Thursday at Scissortail Park in Oklahoma City.

About 350 people, most of them Iranian Americans, attended the rally in downtown Oklahoma City. Many of them carried red-white-and-green Iranian flags, while others carried American flags. Organizers said the rally was held to show solidarity with Iranians who have taken to the streets to demand justice for an Iranian woman named Mahsa Amini, 22, and to protest the injustice of Iran’s Islamic Republic.

Shermien Khazaeli holds a sign at a rally in Scissortail Park to show support for the people of Iran on Thursday in Oklahoma City.

Iran’s Islamic Republic requires women to cover up in public, including wearing a hijab or headscarf that is supposed to completely hide their hair. Amini was arrested by the Islamic Republic’s morality police in Iran’s capital of Tehran and died in September while in police custody. Iran’s government has insisted that she was not mistreated, but her family believes otherwise. Amini’s loved ones have said her body showed bruises and other signs that she had been beaten after she was detained for violating the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code.

Protesters hold signs at a rally to show support for the people of Iran on Thursday in Oklahoma City's Scissortail Park.

The woman’s death has fueled demonstrations across Iran and in other major global cities. As part of their protests in Iran, many women have taken off their head scarves and burned them publicly. Iran’s Islamic Republic has met many of the demonstrations with violence, and the deaths and arrests of some protesters have been widely reported.

‘Here to echo the voice of the Iranian people’

Oklahomans who gathered Thursday said they empathized with the women and other protesters.

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