Iranian-American Woman in San Diego Calls for Support of Protestors in Iran

A protest is scheduled for Saturday at 5 p.m. at Crownpoint Park. 

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Ari Honarvar still remembers her many encounters with the morality police as a young girl living in Iran.  

“I had been harassed so many times as a kid as a teenager,” said Honarvar.

She says there were many times she felt targeted simply for being a girl, which led her to, at one point, cut her hair.

“I wanted to have the same freedoms as my best friend who was a boy,” said Honarvar. “I wanted to be outside, and I wanted to run, and I wanted to laugh and all the beautiful things that boys were allowed to do.”

At the age of 14, she fled Iran and migrated to the U.S. Today, as Honarvar watches her home country erupt in protest, she is reminded of the desperate need for change there.

“It's about freedom,” said Honarvar. “It's definitely women's rights, civil rights, and the ability to make a living, to have a normal life. That is not too much to ask [for]. To be able to go out into the streets without getting harassed or, or gunned down.”

For two weeks now, demonstrators have flooded streets across Iran protesting the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old girl who died in the custody of Iran's morality police after being accused of violating the nation's mandatory headscarf law.

“She was wearing hijab, but it was not to the liking of the officers who arrested her,” said Honarvar. “And no one knows exactly what it is, the laws are so gray."

Protestors have been confronted with mass arrests, bullets and batons. Dozens have been reportedly killed.

“The crackdowns are severe, both against the people, their physicalness, economically, in every way imaginable,” said Honarvar.

Still, demonstrators are standing their ground. But Honarvar says they need our support.

“[If] they feel supported, hopefully, from everybody from the outside from the international community, they can have enough sustenance to make this sustainable,” said Honarvar.

She’s calling on anyone and everyone to help drive awareness of what's happening.

“Getting everybody involved from regular people to celebrities, to politicians to just voice their appreciation for what Iranians are going through in Iran, it is the next best thing to do,” said Honarvar. 

A protest is scheduled for Saturday at 5 p.m. at Crownpoint Park. 

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