MTU students join global Iran protests
HOUGHTON — As protests over the treatment of women in Iran continue into their third month, Michigan Technological University students joined Iranian students at more than 200 universities around the world in holding a rally Wednesday afternoon.
Editor’s note: The name of one interviewee has been redacted from the original article for safety reasons.
The marches were organized by the group Iranian Scholars for Liberty in solidarity with protesters in Iran, many of whom have been detained or killed. The events took place throughout North America, Europe and Australia.
Protests began after the September arrest of Mahsa Amini, a 24-year-old Iranian woman who was detained by Iran’s morality police for allegedly wearing her hijab improperly. She died in custody three days later.
“It’s continued for three months, and I hope it will continue until women will win,” said a Michigan Tech doctoral student whose name has been redacted for her safety.
A representative of the campus group Iranian Community at Michigan Tech, who identified herself as K.K., read the anonymous statement given at all of Wednesday’s rallies.
“As we are here, many students and academics are being assaulted, detained and held in unknown locations,” she said. “Some of those detainees are being subjected to brutal interrogations, forced confessions, torture, and rape and some are facing wrongful convictions, particularly death penalties issued by the regime’s court.”
The Iranian military on Monday put the death toll from the protests at more than 300 people. The U.S.-based group Human Rights Activists in Iran came out with a higher number Monday; 455 protesters killed, along with 60 security forces. Additionally, more than 18,000 people have been detained over the course of the protests, HRAI said Monday. As of Tuesday, six people have received death sentences.
“We believe that the unity of the academic voice and leveraging our platform to promote democratic values will influence the world’s interactions with Iran and will advance the world toward peace and equality,” K.K. said.
An Iranian student who gave his name as Sep came to draw attention to fellow academics who are being arrested and subjected to brutal conditions.
“It’s the least I can do, just to come and show the world what’s really going on in Iran,” he said.
Wednesday’s event will be followed by a panel discussion on campus Friday afternoon.
Michigan Tech students originally planned to march from the Husky statue on campus to the Rozsa Center. Snow and high winds forced the walk to change directions to the Memorial Union building, where a crowd of about 20 people met inside the commons area.
Emma Wuepper, a Ph.D. student in industrial heritage and archaeology, said she came to show support. The importance of coming, she said, is “to emphasize that everyone should be paying attention to what’s going on with Iran and caring about what’s happening.”
At the end of the rally, many of the Iranian students mimed cutting their hair, which has become a gesture of support for Iranian women’s rights over the past two months.
A community awareness event about the Iranian protests will take place from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday night at room 107 in the Memorial Union Building. There will be a short presentation and panel discussion about the protests, their significance and their effects on an international level. It will also have a question-and-answer period.