U of M protest to target student deaths in Iran

Night raids by police on university dorms denounced


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A human chain will be formed around a University of Manitoba dormitory today in memory of students roused from their slumber and slaughtered in Iran.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 09/07/2009 (4890 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A human chain will be formed around a University of Manitoba dormitory today in memory of students roused from their slumber and slaughtered in Iran.

“The images are horrible,” said one Iranian academic in Winnipeg who is helping to organize the event at noon outside the Arthur Mauro Residence.

Twice at 3 a.m., university students asleep in their dorms in Iran were beaten to death by armed plainclothes police. The first time was 10 years ago today after students protested the Islamic Republic of Iran’s closure of a popular newspaper. Three students died. The second time was June 14 after demonstrators took to the streets to protest Iranian election results. Six were killed and hundreds were injured and arrested.

“I am mourning for these students,” said the Canadian citizen, who didn’t want to be identified. She has family in Iran and returns there often to visit.

“They are the best and the brightest in the country… Then the government kills the best of their young? Nothing outrages me more than this incident. Forget about the fraud in the election. If you let this happen to your country, you’re incompetent. Your judiciary is completely incompetent. They should resign.”

She, like many critics of the regime, stopped short of calling for the resignation of Iran’s supreme religious leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Removing the leader of the Islamic state, they say, could destabilize the country and make matters worse.

Winnipegger Abbas Rezai disagreed.

“The entire system should go,” said the resistance supporter, who is lobbying Canada not to do business with the government of Iran, which he says has too much blood on its hands.

As long as Iran is a theocracy, elections don’t mean a thing, Rezai said.

He and the Canadian Friends of a Democratic Iran want the Harper government to reject Iran’s election and “appointment” of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and to demand a free, UN-supervised election “based on people’s sovereignty and not the rule of the supreme religious leader.” They want to suspend all diplomatic ties with Iran and impose a trade, arms and technology embargo on the regime and a foreign travel ban on its top officials.

“We want the regime changed,” said Rezai, who said there is no substantial difference between the candidates Ahmadinejad and “green” candidate Mir Hussein Mousavi.

The supreme religious leader calls the shots and decides who can run for office, Rezai said.

“He has absolute power.”

The resistance, which backs democratic reform, a separation of mosque and state and civil liberties, has enlisted the help of Manitoba religious leaders. They are calling for the support of 3,500 exiled Iranian resistance movement leaders in Iraq. Winnipeg Archbishop James Weisgerber and the United Church Conference of Manitoba executive have written to the U.S. President Barack Obama asking him to protect the people living in Camp Ashraf in Iraq.

They are members of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran, the main democratic opposition group. They have been living legally in Iraq for the last two decades and surrendered their arms to the coalition forces in 2003. They are protected under the Geneva Convention, but have for the past several months been cut off from receiving supplies or visits from supporters and family.

The resistance movement has been fighting to get rid of its label as a terrorist organization in Canada and the U.S. so it can raise funds.


Carol Sanders

Carol Sanders
Legislature reporter

After 20 years of reporting on the growing diversity of people calling Manitoba home, Carol moved to the legislature bureau in early 2020.

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