Hundreds gather at State House to show support for Iranian uprisings



Protester Saleh Riahi holds up a sign calling for the world to take action and support Iran.

By Chloe Els, Staff Writer

Last Saturday, hundreds of people came together at the foot of the Massachusetts State House along the jagged line of the Freedom Trail to protest for Iranian women’s freedom.

College students, professionals in their work attire, and families with young children stood together in solidarity. Some wore Iranian flags as capes or held them as red, white, and green banners that flapped in the wind. Many held signs bearing the name Mahsa Amini—the woman whose death acted as a catalyst for this movement. 

On Sept. 13, Iran’s “morality police,”also known as Iran’s Guidance Patrol, arrested Amini in Tehran, Iran for allegedly wearing her hijab incorrectly. Three days later, Amini died in a hospital due to injuries from being struck on the head multiple times. The police claim Amini died of a heart attack, but her family has called for an investigation into whether or not her death was the result of police brutality.

Amini’s death sent shockwaves throughout Iran, prompting protests against the “morality police” and their strict rules about wearing hijabs. 

A protester named Saleh Riahi stood on the edge of the crowds, holding a sign that asked the world to “do something for Iran,” calling out supporters that send “thoughts and prayers.” 

“This is an uprising because of the death of a woman who didn’t wear a hijab correctly,” he said. “The police killed her, and now all the women in Iran are rising against mandatory hijabs.”

Riahi said he was at the protest to support the uprising happening in Iran where both men and women alike are being killed as they try to fight against the regime.

“This is a totally new form of feminism,” Riahi said. “One unlike anything western culture has seen before.”

A Boston local who did not disclose his name to The Beacon stood in the midst of the crowd, holding a “Woman Life Freedom” poster. 

“The story starts with Mahsa Amini,” he said. “Her death opened a big wound of issues women have had in Iran.” 

The protester was “born and raised” in Iran, but currently resides in Boston. He emphasized the need for international attention on Iran.

“We need the whole world to pay attention,” he said. “The internet has been shot down in Iran. People are being killed in the streets… This is beyond a certain regime. It is about humans.”

Several people showed support for Amini, cutting off their hair at the beginning of the protest, he said, a symbol of mourning and protest. 

Just a few feet away, the crowd chanted, “one solution: revolution!” and, “women want freedom,” expressing devastation and anger, but also determination.

Jean Ryan, a retired gynecologist, commented on the uncertainty surrounding women’s autonomy across the world, including the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade. Both events have drawn attention to the fragility of female autonomy.

“It’s not irrational for women to hate people treating them like property,” she said. 

Ryan is glad she is retired, she said, but her retirement has not made her less aware of the current issues facing women. 

“I think it’s finally taken hold this time,” she said about the fight for women’s rights in Iran. “Women’s rights should belong to women.”

Behind Ryan, posters called for the world to “rise with the women of Iran.”

A man from Iran named Sam, who declined giving a last name, found comfort in how many people showed up to the protest. 

“I’m very happy people have come together today,” he said. “The most important thing people can do is be here.”

Since Amini’s death, protests against the morality police have been taking place in major cities across the world including Kabul, Paris, and Washington D.C. where a group of senators recently created a resolution denouncing Iran’s current treatment of women.

In Iran, approximately 133 people have died in the protests against the morality police.