The protest was called at short notice in response to a wave of executions taking place across Iran, executions that also, as well as targeting those who have been standing shoulder to shoulder with women shouting ‘Woman, Life, Freedom’, have been directed at other communities, Arab, Balochi and Kurdish among them. The call for this latest protest was: “No to Execution, No to the Islamic republic of murder and crime in Iran, and took place in front of Islamic republic of Iran’s office in Manchester (an Islamic Centre), against execution of prisoners by this murderous regime.”
Statements of solidarity
A 21 May statement was read out from a group of children of those executed by the regime in the 1980s, titled “Remembering is Fighting and Not-Forgetting is Resistance”, which can be found on the Red Roots Collective Facebook page. The statement is not signed with the names of those who prepared the statement, and a number of those attending the protest, Iranian comrades, were masked.
A comrade from Manchester Trades Council, an organisation that has been working closely with Red Roots Colllective for over a year and helping with logistics, brought a message of solidarity, also pointing out that what is being demanded in Iran – that women be allowed to choose what they wear, for instance – is reasonable, and being met now with unbelievable brutality.
A statement by Red Roots Collective directed at those in the Islamic Centre and to the people of Manchester was read out:
“To our Muslim brothers and sisters who visit this Islamic Centre: It is your right to know that Islamic Republic of Murder and Crime is abusing Islam to oppress people in Iran and Middle East. We have no problem with Islam but we fight against the political Islam that imposes mandatory hijab and executes prisoners in the name of religion. Show your solidarity and sympathy with oppressed people of Iran by questioning and condemning Islamic republic activities. To the local people of Manchester: The right to live is a basic human right. Islamic Republic of Murder is violating this right on a daily basis. Your international solidarity action can save lives of people who are on the list of execution. Please join us and help us to build the campaign against execution in Iran and everywhere.”
Red Roots Collective have been at the core of a new initiative to bring together activists working on questions of immigration and deportation, and a number of planning meetings have been held that are building for a big demonstration in Manchester on 17 June.
The protests here have been lively, but underpinned by grim determination. The situation inside Iran is grim, but the comrades here are determined to connect with other communities in Manchester, already actively reaching out the Sudanese community, and linking with other immigration rights campaigns. With the implementation of the new Migration Bill on the horizon, mobilisation and support is more than ever urgent. There will be more information about this initiative and the demonstration soon; put the date in your diaries now.
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