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Iran rights protest in Berlin draws thousands

October 22, 2022

Eighty thousand people gathered in Berlin to show solidarity with demonstrators in Iran. Meanwhile, shopkeepers and factory workers went on strike in several Iranian cities.

Tens of thousands of people demonstrate in Berlin in solidarity with protesters in Iran
Eighty thousand people in Berlin showed solidarity with the protest movement in IranImage: Paul Zinken/dpa/picture alliance

Tens of thousands of people demonstrated in Berlin on Saturday in solidarity with the protest movement in Iran. According to the police, about 80,000 people took part in 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 had gathered at Berlin's Siegessäule (Victory Column) and the surrounding area.

The police reported a "predominantly trouble-free" march. At the start of the event, pyrotechnics were ignited; later, police said some people set off smoke canisters or grenades.

Participants held up Iranian flags and signs criticizing Iran's leaders, many with the tagline "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 European countries take clear steps. They should stop doing business with the regime, they should support the call for freedom."

Businesses in Iran strike, demos at universities in Tehran 

As women-led nationwide protests sparked by the death of Jina Mahsa Amini entered the 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 Friday in Zahedan, a southeastern city with an ethnic Baloch population. State news agency IRNA said protesters shouted slogans, threw stones at motorists and damaged banks and other private property.

Thousands of people demonstrate in Berlin in solidarity with the protest movement in Iran
The death of Jina Mahsa Amini has sparked demonstrations around the world Image: Paul Zinken/dpa/picture alliance

Iran: United States seeking concessions

Meanwhile, Iran accused the United States of seeking to gain concessions in talks aimed at restoring the 2015 international nuclear agreement, by supporting protests over Mahsa Amini's death.

"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 looking to exert political and psychological pressure on Iran to obtain concessions in the negotiations," he said, referring to indirect talks between Tehran and Washington mediated by the European Union. Amir-Abdollahian also said that Iran will not make any concessions.

The mass protests against Iran's authoritarian government were triggered by the death of the 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)

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