'We're here as long as they're there': Protesters line Yonge Street in support of Iranians

The Association of Families of Flight PS752 Victims is supporting groups across Canada and the globe that are organizing events and human chain protests calling for revolution in Iran. Pictured are protesters in Toronto Saturday morning. (Tyler Cheese/CBC - image credit)
The Association of Families of Flight PS752 Victims is supporting groups across Canada and the globe that are organizing events and human chain protests calling for revolution in Iran. Pictured are protesters in Toronto Saturday morning. (Tyler Cheese/CBC - image credit)

Tens of thousands of protesters lined Yonge Street in Toronto on Saturday in support of Iranians' continued protests against the death of a young woman in police custody.

"It's unbelievable," said Mehrdokht Hadi, one of the organizers of the Toronto event.

"Two months ago I couldn't imagine this crowd on the streets, now people are not scared and people are motivated."

The Association of Families of Flight PS752 organized the event — a human chain protest where the idea is for protesters to link their community together — along the east side of Yonge Street near Finch Avenue.

People were encouraged to come at 10 a.m. and by 10:15, Hadi said the street was almost full and the "chain almost connected." She said it wouldn't surprise her if more than 60,000 people were in attendance.

Indeed, it was hard to hear her through protesters chanting, "hey, hey, ho, ho, Islamic regime must go" and "what solution? Revolution" while drivers leaned on their horns in solidarity.

WATCH | Protesters form human chain in Toronto, in solidarity with Iranians 

"This is for the people of Iran," said Arash Jamshidi, a member of the PS752 association. "They want a real change for our country and we are here to support [them]."

"This is about basic human rights," said Sherry Shriat, another protester.

Saturday's Toronto event is one of dozens taking place across Canada and around the world. It marks more than six weeks of continued protests since 22-year-old Mahsa Amini died in Iranian custody after being detained by morality police who took issue with how loosely she was supposedly wearing her hijab.

Police, who have enforced strict dress codes since the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran, have said her death was the result of a heart attack. Many remain adamant she was murdered.

"We're here as long as they're there," Hadi said of protesters in Iran. "People are here to make sure the media is here and politicians are paying attention."

CBC
CBC