Advertisement

Iranian, Ukrainian communities rally at Russian Embassy to condemn 'common oppressors'

About 200 people took part in a rally against the Russian and Iranian governments outside the Russian Embassy in Ottawa on Saturday. (Guy Quenneville/CBC - image credit)
About 200 people took part in a rally against the Russian and Iranian governments outside the Russian Embassy in Ottawa on Saturday. (Guy Quenneville/CBC - image credit)

Cries of "Shame!" amplified by loudspeakers capped a protest Saturday afternoon outside the Embassy of Russia in Ottawa that drew members of the city's Ukrainian and Iranian communities.

About 200 people participated in the joint rally on the Charlotte Street sidewalk as a steady flow of vehicles, several honking in support, streamed by.

Organizer Kaveh Shakouri, who left Iran for Canada in 2008, said the Ukrainian and Iranian communities came together in part to protest Iran's supply of drones to Russia.

Ukraine has accused Russia of using the drones during its ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

"We have common oppressors," Shakouri said.

Guy Quenneville/CBC
Guy Quenneville/CBC

Names of dead read out

The rally's other purpose, Shakouri added, was to read out the names of 200 people in Ukraine and Iran whom he said have died since Russia first invaded Ukraine in February and in the weeks after protests erupted in Iran in September.

The protests followed the death of Mahsa Amini, a Kurdish woman who had been detained by Iran's morality police for allegedly flouting the Islamic Republic's strict dress code imposed on women.

People from all walks of life have taken part in the nationwide Iranian protests, with students and women playing a prominent role and a heavy death toll reported.

The people whose names were read out Saturday in Ottawa were all 25 or younger, Shakouri said.

"[It's] a small sample of people who have been killed," said fellow attendee Ihor Michalchyshyn, the executive director of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress.

Guy Quenneville/CBC
Guy Quenneville/CBC

Sam Pakparvar, who held up an Iranian flag high above a banner that read "Woman. Life. Freedom." said he was at the embassy protest on behalf of his wife Azin Rezaiean, who couldn't make it because of work.

Pakparvar said Rezaiean, a women's rights activist, fled Iran 18 months ago "because she was under consistent pressure from the security forces."

Guy Quenneville/CBC
Guy Quenneville/CBC

Doug Hume, a local teacher, brought his daughters to the rally. The family has convened outside the Russian Embassy about every two weeks since the invasion of Ukraine began, he said.

"I need them to know that although there are so many things that are set up to silence voices, it's important that they decide what their values are and try to make contributions that make the world better and safer," Hume said.

Guy Quenneville/CBC
Guy Quenneville/CBC