Human chain formed on Auckland waterfront over Iranian executions

Sun, Jan 8

"Your silence is violence" was the chant of over 200 people who gathered in Auckland today to protest the execution of two men in Iran.

The protesters formed a chain along the waterfront in Mission Bay, calling for an end to violence and for the New Zealand Government to take action.

Protesters said they want to challenge the government to take action, with event organiser Samira Taghavi saying they "demand Jacinda that you don't waste one more day".

Mohammad Hosseini and Mohammad Mahdi Karami were hung for allegedly killing a member of the security forces during nationwide protests last year.

Four men have now been executed since the demonstrations began in September over the death of Iranian woman Mahsa Amini.

Last month, travel bans were imposed on 22 Iranian security force members by the New Zealand Government.

The initial bans are targeted at those connected to the death of 22-year-old Amini and the Iranian government's violent response to subsequent protests.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said at the time, New Zealand will always advocate for "greater civil and political freedom" and condemns the actions of Iranian authorities.

"What happened to Mahsa Amini is inexcusable," she said. "New Zealand continues to stand with the people of Iran, especially women and girls."

The protests began in mid-September, when Amini died after being arrested by Iran’s morality police for allegedly violating the Islamic Republic's strict dress code. Women have played a leading role in the protests, with many publicly stripping off the compulsory Islamic headscarf, known as the hijab.

The protests mark one of the biggest challenges to Iran's theocracy since the 1979 revolution. Security forces have used live ammunition, bird shot, tear gas and batons to disperse protesters, according to rights groups.

Additional reporting by the Associated Press.


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