JAKARTA: Hundreds of Indonesians rallied outside the Iranian embassy in Jakarta on Tuesday, urging Tehran to investigate the deaths of dozens of women and children killed by Iranian security forces during ongoing anti-regime protests.
The biggest anti-government protests in Iran in over a decade have intensified since mid-September, spreading to all provinces and 80 cities. They were sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old detainee who was arrested by Iran’s Morality Police on charges of improperly wearing her headscarf.
In recent weeks, the Iranian authorities have intensified their crackdown on demonstrators. The Norway-based non-governmental organization Iran Human Rights estimates that at least 215 people, including 27 children, were killed.
Civil society organizations, activists and members of the Iranian diaspora who took part in the demonstration in Jakarta on Tuesday have called on the Indonesian government to use its influence as the largest Muslim-majority country and help stop the violence.
“We call on the Indonesian government to use its power as the country with the largest Muslim population in the world to have the Iranian government stop all forms of violence, including the kidnapping and murder of its people demanding reforms in Iran,” said Ririn Sefsani, a Jakarta-based women’s rights activist and one of the protest organizers, told Arab News.
Protesters were seen holding placards that read “Woman, Life, Freedom” – the phrase used by protesters in Iran. Ten women were also seen cutting their hair in a symbolic act committed by many Iranian activists in defiance of the rules of compulsory hijab.
“We hope that our action will spread and strengthen the global solidarity movement for Iran,” Sefsani said.
Indonesian protesters also demanded the release of Iranian journalists who have been imprisoned since Amini’s death. According to Reporters Without Borders, 21 of at least 31 journalists arrested are still behind bars.
Andreas Harsono, a senior Indonesian journalist and one of the founders of the Alliance of Independent Journalists in Indonesia, said they would continue to protest as long as their Iranian counterparts were imprisoned.
“It will be difficult for any country, including Iran, if freedom of the press is silenced and journalists are imprisoned,” he said.