Iran protest: why demonstrators gathered in Manchester and what they want to happen

The protest highlighted the ruthless methods the Iranian authorities are resorting to in order to suppress the protests in the country which have been growing over a number of months.
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Protestors showing support with demonstrators on the streets of Iran gathered in Manchester city centre to voice their anger at the threat of the death penalty being used against those taking part in the uprising and to urge British authorities to act.

Iranian exiles and members of the diaspora, including a group based in Manchester, once again came together in public in support of those back in Iran taking part in protests which have generated headlines around the world. The protestors in Manchester particularly wanted to show opposition to the fact that some of those who have been arrested face the threat of execution as the Iranian authorities attempt to quell the protests. They are urging British politicians and authorities to do more in support of those demanding change in Iran.

Who took part in the Manchester protest for Iran and what was it about?

The latest protest for Iran in Manchester involved people from the group Free Iranian Activists Manchester and activists supporting the protestors in the country from Liverpool and South Yorkshire.

It is not the first time that members of the Iranian diaspora in the UK have staged events in Manchester since protests began to grip the country several months ago following the death of a young Iranian-Kurdish woman, Mahsa Amini, after she was arrested by the country’s notorious morality police for having an incorrectly-worn hijab.

Since then, though, the protests have snowballed hugely and men and women have been out on the streets for around 10 weeks demanding major changes in the country. They have been supported by people from the Iranian community in countries across the world who have wanted to show solidarity and back their aims.

The demonstration in Manchester city centre by supporters of the Iranian protestorsThe demonstration in Manchester city centre by supporters of the Iranian protestors
The demonstration in Manchester city centre by supporters of the Iranian protestors

The latest Manchester protest, on Saturday (17 December) was particularly intended to draw attention to the threat of the death penalty being used against the young people the authorities have arrested for taking part in demonstrations. It has been reported that a couple of protestors have already been executed in Iran.

The protestors also want the British government and politicians to act to make things harder for those currently in charge in Iran and to show more support for those on the streets protesting. However, they warned at the same time that they do not want foreign intervention in the matter.

The demonstrators spent around two hours sharing their message in a protest which took place outside the Islamic Centre in Manchester. The action coincided with a global day of rallies against the threat of execution hanging over protestors in Iran.

What have the protestors said?

Farhad Vahidi from Free Iranian Activists Manchester said: “We want to show solidarity and raise awareness of the executions happening in Iran, with more to follow. It is important for us to get the word out. These people will be executed if someone doesn’t do something about it.

“Seeing what is happening in Iran has been devastating. I was a 12-year-old boy when I came to live in England but I have family and close friends back in Iran. Every day is waking up and checking social media to see if this may be the day someone I know and love has been arrested or sentenced to execution.

“Our hope is that the British government and international governing bodies will hold the Iranian government responsible. That could start with expelling the diplomats, closing their centres so they can’t spread their propaganda and freezing assets.

“I’m also writing to every single MP in Greater Manchester to be the voice of Iranians living here and ask them to listen to our voice.”

Hamid Atarodi said: “We were joining in with a global rally against the execution of protestors. Two people have already been executed and others are at risk.

“In Germany politicians have acted as political sponsors for some of the protestors who are facing the death penalty, and we would like politicians here to do the same.

“They are young people in Iran who are campaigning for basic human rights.

“We are not looking for any country to ‘save’ Iran. We are asking for international communities to stand in solidarity with us and not to help the regime in any way.”