Several hundred people marched through the streets of Montreal on Sunday in memory of the victims of flight PS752 shot down by Iranian missiles. Three years after the tragedy, the sad anniversary comes against the backdrop of harshly suppressed protests in Iran.
“Three years have already passed, and we haven’t seen a bit of justice,” breathes Mohammad Aminnia.
His voice cracks. The man clings to the photo of a woman with a bright smile. Her name was Masoumeh Ghavi.
“I lost her three days after our engagement ceremony,” drops Mr. Aminnia, unable to hold back his sobs.
His fiancée is among the 176 people killed in flight PS752 shot down by the Iranian military shortly after taking off from Tehran airport on January 8, 2020.
The majority of passengers were traveling to Canada, after connecting through Ukraine.
Despite the cold, several hundred people gathered on Sunday to mark the third anniversary of the tragedy.
The march began around 1:30 p.m., in front of McGill University, and was to end in front of the offices of the International Civil Aviation Organization, criticized for its inaction against Iran.
“After three years, we need concrete actions. The Islamic Republic of Iran must be held responsible,” argues Mohammad Aminnia.
At the front of the crowd, Farzaneh Fare is draped in the Iranian flag of pre-Islamic times, surmounted by a lion.
His friend and classmate also perished in flight PS752. He had just been accepted for a master’s degree at McGill University. “He was a brilliant person, very talented and very kind. I can’t even imagine what his family is going through,” Ms.me Fare.
A tear rolls down her cheek.
“It’s not easy to wake up every day with a heavy heart, away from family and friends in Iran. We are here to ask our Canadian friends to help us and be our voice,” she adds.
Support for women iranian
The anniversary of the tragedy has found new impetus this year with the protest movement that is rocking Iran.
To the sound of drums, the demonstrators chanted slogans such as “Woman! Life ! Freedom ! », and « A solution, the revolution! “.
In the middle of the crowd, Ava Afrashteh distributes macaroons.
“We are all fighting for our brothers and sisters. What is happening there is criminal. This should not only concern Iran, but the whole world,” she stresses.
“I am here for my children. I am there for the younger generation, ”launches Lida Bonakdar in turn.
Of the gatherings across the country
In Canada, rallies were planned from coast to coast – from Vancouver to Saint John – to commemorate the tragedy.
The official ceremony of the Association of Families of the Victims of Flight PS752 was held in Toronto, with an address from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Several federal ministers attended the event, which included an address by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The event will conclude with a candlelight vigil in Mel Lastman Square, located not far from the ceremony site.
In addition to serving as tributes to the victims of the tragedy, these rallies are intended to push Ottawa to take a tougher stance on Iran.
On December 28, Canada joined other countries in beginning the process to bring Flight PS752 to the International Court of Justice. The purpose of this procedure is to force Iran to compensate the families of the victims.
Some observers argue, however, that this process should have been started earlier and that the Royal Canadian Mounted Police should have launched a criminal investigation while Ottawa was negotiating with Tehran.
Prime Minister Trudeau also met with members of the bereaved families on Friday and assured that Ottawa would fight tirelessly for truth and justice.
With The Canadian Press