Exciting reports received by the International Emergency Campaign to Free Iran’s Political Prisoners (IEC) show new joint efforts by supporters of our campaign and Burn the Cage/Free the Birds movement in Europe that reached thousands at International Women’s Day (IWD) events 2022 amidst a tense world situation. A major article [in Farsi] appeared in the online Farsi news outlet IranWire on its homepage about the IEC efforts in Paris. The article quotes activists and the Emergency Appeal extensively. IranWire will publish an English translation shortly.
Banners and placards with the names and faces of political prisoners in Iran, along with IEC’s demands, were carried in marches and rallies in Paris, France; Berlin, Frankfurt and Düsseldorf, Germany; and Helsinki, Finland.
We wanted to spread the campaign more broadly in Germany by taking it to International Women’s Day events on March 8 (in Frankfurt, Düsseldorf and Berlin). Some people who knew us from past IWDs approached us to work together. Throughout the day we made many new contacts with Kurdish, Turkish, German and Afghan women and many signed the Emergency Appeal (EA).
In Frankfurt, we took the IEC into several events. One was with young Kurdish, Turkish and German women who spoke against patriarchy and capitalism where we played the “Burn the Cage” song by Afghan artist Shakib Mosadegh. Afghan women at another rally gave us the microphone. We spoke of the common struggle for women in Iran and Afghanistan against religious fundamentalism and the role of the imperialists in these regions. We chanted slogans together against the Taliban and Iran’s Islamic Republic. At another rally, we addressed the global oppression of women, the war between the imperialists to restructure current order, making clear we oppose both Russian aggression and NATO. We emphasized the need to build support for the IEC in Europe, ending with the slogan of international solidarity of the people of the world in the fight against oppression. In Berlin, IWD is an official holiday in the heavy shadow of war in Ukraine this year. In Berlin’s historic Wedding district, over 1,000 people joined in rallies, speeches, or street festivals and the EA was distributed in German and English. Beautiful banners with IEC info and its enlarged photos of Iran’s political prisoners were displayed at IWD events in Düsseldorf.
This year’s IWD rally was held at the White Church in Helsinki with Finnish, Italian, Latin American, and Iranian activists performing the “Red Shoes,” which is a symbol of violence against women and a memorial to the victims of genocide around the world. IEC supporters held up large posters of Iran’s women political prisoners: Nahid Taghavi, Bahareh Soleimani, Zeinab Jalalian, Maryam Akbari Monfared, Sepideh Gholian, Niloufar Bayani and others with red shoes as a message of these women’s heroism who rebel against capitalist and patriarchal state repression.
The IEC supporters brought together people from different nationalities, including new faces, to take part in the feminist march on IWD in Paris. A small but very visible contingent carried a giant banner of Iran’s political prisoners along with portraits of individual women prisoners. Many marchers and passers-by stopped to take photos throughout the afternoon. A young student requested an interview for a school project. A journalist from IranWire joined the contingent and published an article about the campaign. A leaflet highlighting the courage and resistance of women prisoners as a source of inspiration was distributed among the 30,000+ marchers and in the streets of Paris. It underlined the IEC’s two main demands: to the Islamic regime—Free All Political Prisoners in Iran Now and to the U.S. government—Lift the sanctions, no threats or war moves against Iran!
Although it was clear that awareness of the situation in Iran and of its political prisoners was quite uneven, many showed support and readily agreed with the campaign’s focus aimed at both governments and contrasting those state interests with the common interests of the people of the world. Libérez-les tous!