Matthew Kaplan Photography

Iran & Ukraine Protest March - Chicago - January 8th, 2023

Expressing solidarity in the struggle for freedom in Iran, and the war against Russian aggression in Ukraine, supporters of both communities marched through Chicago's Loop on Sunday afternoon, the third anniversary of the tragic downing of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The Boeing 737 was in Iranian airspace, on a scheduled commercial flight from Tehran to Kviv, when it was destroyed by surface-to-air missiles. All 176 passengers and crew were killed in the horrific incident. Iran's government has admitted that the IRGC mistook the commercial airliner for a US cruise missile.

Carrying names and photos of the innocent people lost in the crash, as well as the Iranians executed in the ongoing struggle for women's rights in Iran, and placing responsibility for their deaths squarely on that country's Islamic Republic, hundreds of protestors marched up Michigan Avenue and then south on Clark Street.

To a steady drumbeat the demonstrators chanted,

"Justice for Ukraine! Justice for Iran!"

"Down with dictators in Iran and Russia!"

"Human rights for Iran! Human rights for Ukraine!"

"Women! Life! Freedom!"

Upon reaching Federal Plaza, candles were lit for the victims of the brutal regime, and minutes of silence were observed. A statement read to assembled closed with a prediction and a vow, "The end of this nightmare is near! Soon a dawn will break in the world without the Islamic Republic! The key to success is in unity and organization. We will never forget the crimes of the Islamic Republic, nor shall we ever forgive them!"

Supporters of women's rights in Iran have been calling for regime change there since last September when the young woman, Mahsa Amini, died in police custody in Tehran after being arrested by authorities for not properly wearing her hijab.

Ukraine has seen Russian forces use hundreds of Iranian drones in attacks on civilian infrastructure, since Vladimir Putin invaded their country last February. According to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, “Iran has now become Russia’s top military backer."

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