Members of London’s Iranian community and supporters gathered in Victoria Park Monday afternoon to protest the Iranian government in light of their involvement in the crash of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 in Tehran.
One of the protestors, Farnaz Michalski, said she and many others are there to show moral support with those still living in Iran.
“We just want peace and this is the latest piece in a sequel,” she said, “and the last few days, people are out in the streets of Iran, and we see videos of them being shot and threats to the families of people killed in the crash.”
Online videos appeared to show security forces firing live ammunition and tear gas to disperse protests in the streets of Iran.
Video verified by The Associated Press shows protesters scattering amid clouds of tear gas Sunday night.
— Sawyer Bogdan (@sleebogdan) January 13, 2020
Michalski is a graduate student at Western University and a member of the Iranian community who knew Hadis Hayatdavoudi, one of the four Western students killed when Flight 752 went down.
“I felt like it was my closest dearest friend,” she said.
“It did not feel like she was a far acquaintance; we all put ourselves on that plane.”
In light of what happened and ongoing tension in the region, Michalski said they want to see a peaceful transition to a new government.
Over 40 people came out to Victoria Park today, chanting, “we want justice, we want answers.”
Last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau confirmed reports that multiple intelligence sources found it ‘highly likely’ that Iran shot down the Kyiv-bound flight with a surface-to-airm missile.
After initially denying responsibility for the aircraft’s downing, Iran’s government has since said its military mistook the plane for an incoming hostile target.
All of the 176 passengers were killed in the crash. Of those on board, 138 were getting connecting flights to Canada and 57 of them had Canadian citizenship.
In an interview with Global National’s Dawna Friesen on Monday, Trudeau spoke about the Canadian response to the plane crash, as well as holding Iran accountable in the investigation into how the missile that took down the plane was fired.
“If there were no tensions, if there was no escalation recently in the region, those Canadians would be right now home with their families,” said Trudeau.
Tensions in the region have been heightened since a U.S. airstrike killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani.
Soleimani was Iran’s second-in-command and the architect of its campaign to expand influence across the Middle East.
On Thursday, Canada will host a meeting in London, U.K., with members of the International Coordination and Response Group to go over the next step for getting credible answers and access to the black box data.
— With files from Amanda Connolly, Global News and The Canadian Press
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