PORTLAND, Ore. — In Downtown Portland on Saturday, hundreds of people gathered to bring awareness to what they say is a huge women’s rights issue in Iran.
They came together to call attention to the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died in Iran last month after police arrested her for improperly wearing a hijab, a traditional head scarf worn by some Muslim women.
Protestors also took to the streets to peacefully demonstrate.
Attendees say the rally is is one of the many that happened around the world on Saturday.
“Everyone across the world, all the Persians are just coming together asking the world to hear us, support us, and to just shed a light on what's been happening in Iran for decades,” said Nilo Nikpour, one of the people who attended.
She said she was outraged when she heard about what happened to Amini.
“I haven't been able to sleep. All the women, I feel like, have been crying over the past two weeks. I'm so outraged that in 21st century, you wake up as a 22-year-old with hopes and dreams and going on vacation with your family. You have your mom and dad next to you, with you, and then in broad daylight they pull you inside their van they take you, brutally beat you up and murder you […] because their hair was showing,” said Nikpour.
She and her friends said women in Iran are not treated as equals.
“As a woman, you basically have zero rights,” said Nikpour.
“This is not how it should be. This is not freedom,” said Noura Pyami.
Pyami said there have been internet shutdowns in the country preventing people from posting online about the situation and protests happening in Iran.
“Right now it's our turn to be their voice. Basically that's why we are gathering here,” Pyami said.
Their hope is that people will use the hashtag #MahsaAmini on social media and put pressure on leaders around the world to promote change.
“You have to stand with each other to support the freedom and human basic rights,” said Pyami.
This wasn't the first protest for Amini in Portland in recent weeks. But with Saturday’s widespread protests, attendees hope the showing of support will be what turns the tide and creates change for women in Iran.