Statement on Iran Protests

Statement from the GSA Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Committee on the Iran Protests

Disclaimer: Please be advised that the following content may be distressing for some due to discussions of police brutality and violence against protestors.

The University of Calgary Graduate Students’ Association (GSA), along with the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) committee stand in solidarity with the Iranian Graduate Student Community against the inhumane and violent crackdown on protestors in Iran.

On September 13, 2022, 22-year-old Mahsa Amini was arrested in Tehran by the Gasht-e Ershad (Islamic Republic of Iran’s (IRI) morality police) for allegedly incorrectly wearing a hijab (headscarf). Eyewitness accounts state that police assaulted her during the arrest. Amini later collapsed in police custody, entered a coma, and died on September 16. Police deny assaulting Amini during the arrest and insist that she suffered from a heart problem. Amini’s family denies this claim.

Mahsa Amini’s death sparked massive protests across Iran against repressive government policies, the morality police, and the discriminatory treatment of women and other marginalized groups. Protestors took to the streets and to various social media networks to express their anger and spread awareness of the situation in Iran. The hashtags #MahsaAmini and #مهسا_امینی have trended on Twitter since the protests began. Iranian women have posted videos on social media cutting their hair as a symbol of the protests. The government has sought to curb dissent by shutting down the internet and restricting access to communication channels such as WhatsApp, Instagram, and even LinkedIn. The IRI government has responded to the protests with violent crackdowns that have left at least 41 dead (a conservative estimate as of September 26, 2022) and hundreds more injured.

The GSA and EDI Committee condemns the actions of the IRI regime against their citizens and stands with the Iranian community in their fight against police brutality and oppression. 

We understand that this situation has been incredibly distressing for many Iranian graduate students in our community. If you have been impacted by this ongoing crisis, please consider accessing some of the below mental health resources:

The GSA will also be working in collaboration with the Iranian Graduate Student Association to organize peer support groups for impacted students. Additional information on the groups will be available in the coming days.

References

Amnesty International. (2022, September 21). Iran: Deadly crackdown on protests against Mahsa Amini’s death in custody needs urgent global action. https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2022/09/iran-deadly-crackdown-on-protests-against-mahsa-aminis-death-in-custody-needs-urgent-global-action/

BBC News (2022a, September 16). Fury in Iran as young woman dies following morality police arrest. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-62930425

BBC News. (2022b, September 21). Iran protests: Mahsa Amini’s death puts morality police under spotlight. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-62984076

The Guardian. (2022, September 26). Death toll grows in Iran as Mahsa Amini protest continue got 10th night. https://amp.theguardian.com/world/2022/sep/26/death-toll-grows-in-iran-as-mahsa-amini-protests-continue-for-10th-night

Reuters. (2022. September 21). As unrest grows, Iran restricts access to Instagram, WhatsApp. https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/iran-restricts-access-instagram-netblocks-2022-09-21/