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UTK Iranian students join global rally in support of human rights

UT is one of more than 100 universities in the world where demonstrators are rallying to support human rights in Iran.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Iranian students from the University of Tennessee rallied Wednesday to support human rights. UT joined more than 100 universities around the world where students held demonstrations. 

These rallies are in response to a 22-year-old woman being killed in Iran. A couple of months ago, Masha Amini was arrested by police for wearing her religious headdress wrong. She died three days later in police custody. Iranian police claimed she had a heart attack, but her family has disputed that claim.

"I don't think that nobody deserves to die because of their choice of what they wear. You know, it's not fair. To me," Sima said. 

After her death, Iranian women started burning their scarves and cutting their hair in protest over Amini's death. The Iranian students said with this rally they hope to spread awareness across the globe.

"I'm feeling really sad for my people of my country," Mohsen said. 

UT student Mohsen wore a tunic today with red paint that symbolized blood.

"It means that they're killing all of us," Mohsen said. 

The students on UT's campus said it started with Mahsa Anini's death, but they're rallying because they want more change in Iran.

"People of Iran are fighting because of freedom. The situation is very bad and they want a normal life that they didn't have," Sanaz said. 

Iranian students said they want people to have a choice of how to live. They want to see change, especially for women. Right now in Iran, women can't go out in public without their hijab, and they can't wear anything that reveals their arms.

"Because I don't think that nobody deserves to die because of their choice of what they wear," said Sima, a UT Ph.D. student.

An Iranian General said that hundreds of people have been killed in the protests. Sima said she believes it may be a way for the government to stop any further protests — by spreading fear.

"Maybe their target is mostly young people because, maybe, we are actually more vulnerable regarding this kind of thing," Sima said.

The organizers of this rally said they want more people in Knoxville to know what's happening across the globe.

"We want you to support us in any way that you can," Sima said. 

They said the ultimate goal is for everyone to live well and free. 

"Any brutal-ness regarding women, regarding men, children should be stopped all around the world," Sima said.

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