Calgarians gather to remember victims 3 years after Flight PS752 shot down

A display outside Calgary's city hall resembles what the crash site of flight PS752 might have looked like. (Terri Trembath/CBC News - image credit)
A display outside Calgary's city hall resembles what the crash site of flight PS752 might have looked like. (Terri Trembath/CBC News - image credit)

Mourners gathered around a display of open suitcases set up across from Calgary's city hall on Sunday.

The bags, scattered on the ground, intended to resemble what the PS752 crash site might have looked like with clothes and shoes, among some of the items spilling out.

Three years ago, Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752 was shot out of the sky by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), killing all passengers on board.

The aircraft, bound for Canada, was shot over Tehran. It carried 55 Canadians and 30 permanent residents, including children, students, and families travelling together.

Among the 176 who lost their lives were two Calgarians — Kasra Saati and 19-year-old Arshia Arbabbahrami.

"All over the world, there's eight million Iranians who are standing in solidarity to show those families who lost loved ones they're not forgotten," said Armin Zarringhalam, one of the rally organizers.

"They're always in our hearts, always in our minds."

The rally in Calgary was one of about 100 demonstrations held around the world meant to draw attention to the downed flight, as well as the ongoing protests in Iran which oppose the regime's morality police.

Terri Trembath/CBC News
Terri Trembath/CBC News

In December 2022, the International Coordination and Response Group announced that ministers from Canada, Ukraine, Sweden and the United Kingdom had requested Iran's regime submit to binding arbitration under an international dispute resolution process governed by the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Civil Aviation.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre have spoken against the incident and condemned the Iranian regime.

At the event in Toronto, Trudeau took to the stage, recounting meetings with several victims' families leading up to the third anniversary, saying "finding justice" is a crucial part of mourning.

Terri Trembath/CBC News
Terri Trembath/CBC News

"This tragedy happened because of the Iranian regime's heinous disregard for human life," he said. "Your grief has been compounded by their refusal to be held accountable."

Poilievre took to Twitter, saying he stands with the families of those killed in calling for stronger action. 

"Canada must list the IRGC as a terrorist entity once & for all," he wrote in a tweet.

But some are saying that more needs to be done.

Rojka Shirzadi, an Iranian-Canadian has been attending demonstrations and speaking of the experiences of both the families and the community as a whole.

She spoke during Sunday's demonstration outside Calgary's city hall.

"Our country denied this even happening, we want them to at least own up to their crimes and own up to the murderous action that has been going on," Shirzadi said.

"The Canadian government has had a good start to what's been happening, but we still haven't got a straight up answer about the IRGC being a terrorist group … that's the key factor."