Tens of thousands of people demonstrated in Berlin on Saturday in solidarity with the protest movement in Iran. According to the police, around 80,000 people attended the rally. The organizers of the event initially expected 50,000 participants.
At the beginning of the demonstration, thousands of people from many parts of Europe gathered at Berlin’s Siegessäule (Victory Column) and the surrounding area.
Police reported a “mostly uneventful” march. At the start of the event, pyrotechnics were ignited; later, police said some people set off smoke canisters or grenades.
The participants held Iranian flags and held up signs criticizing Iran’s leaders, many with the slogan “Women, Life, Freedom” in both English and German.
The demonstration in Berlin was organized by the Woman Life Freedom Collective, which stands up against oppression and discrimination in Iran. Numerous organizations supported the call.
“We are here in solidarity with the people of Iran,” said Ninsha, who traveled to the rally from Sweden. “We have friends there and we have promised them that we will not leave them alone. We demand that the European countries take clear steps. They should stop doing business with the regime, they should support the call for freedom. “
Companies in Iran strike, demonstrations at universities in Tehran
As women-led nationwide protests sparked by the death of Jina Mahsa Amini entered their sixth week, shopkeepers and factory workers in several Iranian cities went on strike, activists said.
Witnesses also said anti-government protests broke out at several universities in Tehran despite tight security.
In addition, protests were reported on Friday in Zahedan, a city in the southeast with an ethnic Baloch population. The state news agency IRNA said protesters shouted slogans, threw stones at motorists and damaged banks and other private property.
Iran: US seeks concessions
Meanwhile, Iran accused the United States of trying to win concessions in talks aimed at restoring the 2015 international nuclear deal by supporting protests over the death of Mahsa Amini.
“The Americans continue to exchange messages with us, but they are trying to fan the flames of what has been going on inside Iran in recent days,” Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said during a visit to Armenia.
“I think they are seeking to put political and psychological pressure on Iran to obtain concessions in the negotiations,” he said, referring to indirect talks between Tehran and Washington brokered by the European Union. Amir-Abdollahian also said that Iran will not make any concessions.
The mass protests against Iran’s authoritarian government were sparked by the death of 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini in police custody in mid-September. The morality police had arrested her for not complying with a headscarf mandate.
Additional reporting from Berlin by Christoph Strack.
dh/wd (AFP, AP, dpa)