NewsDozens March in London to Demand Freedom for Iranian Women on International Women's Day

Dozens March in London to Demand Freedom for Iranian Women on International Women's Day

LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 8: Protesters dressed as handmaids from The Handmaid's Tale prepare for a march from Parliament Square to Iran's embassy to highlight repression of women in that country on March 8, 2024 in London, England. On March 8th International Women's Day celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women globally and highlights the work still to be done to prevent endemic violence against women and inequality. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 8: Protesters dressed as handmaids from The Handmaid's Tale prepare for a march from Parliament Square to Iran's embassy to highlight repression of women in that country on March 8, 2024 in London, England. On March 8th International Women's Day celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women globally and highlights the work still to be done to prevent endemic violence against women and inequality. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
Images source: © GETTY | Dan Kitwood
4:39 AM EST, March 9, 2024

In a vivid demonstration of solidarity and protest, dozens of British-Iranian women took to the streets of central London on International Women's Day, echoing the demands for women's freedom in Iran. The protestors, clad in red cloaks and white bonnets reminiscent of the dystopian world of Margaret Atwood's "The Handmaid's Tale," marched from Parliament Square to the Iranian embassy in Kensington, raising their voices for women's rights.

Organized by Stage of Freedom, the march on Friday, March 8, was not just a spectacle but a powerful statement against Iran's restrictive laws on women. Chants of "women's rights are human rights" and "my body, my choice" filled the air as the protesters carried posters bearing the faces of women who have suffered at the hands of the Iranian regime – those who have been killed, maimed, or imprisoned.

The choice of "The Handmaid's Tale" costumes was deliberate, drawing a stark parallel between the fictional world of Gilead and the reality of life under Iran's hijab laws and other gender-based restrictions. The protestors aimed to highlight the plight of Iranian women, whose freedoms are severely curtailed by the state.

This demonstration was partly ignited by the tragic death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini on September 16, 2022, while in the custody of Iran's morality police, purportedly for breaching the country's strict dress code for women. Amini's death became a catalyst for the global Women, Life, Freedom movement, calling attention to the pressing need for more freedom and rights for Iranian women.

The response to these protests has been brutally repressive. Human Rights Watch reports that over 500 people, including 68 children, have been killed by security forces in the ensuing crackdowns. Furthermore, it's estimated that more than 20,000 protesters have been arrested in a widespread effort to quash dissent.

Amnesty International's latest report underscores the severity of the situation. The Iranian authorities have embarked on a draconian campaign to enforce the compulsory hijab laws, exerting a chilling effect on women and girls. Diana Eltahawy, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, highlighted the extent of this repression, stating that women and girls are terrorized through constant surveillance and policing. These measures not only disrupt their daily lives but also inflict immense mental distress, with penalties ranging from inhumane flogging to imprisonment.

The London march on International Women's Day stands as a testament to the international outcry against the injustices faced by Iranian women. It serves as a reminder of the ongoing struggle for fundamental human rights and dignity in the face of oppressive regimes.

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