fFor many of those who gathered on the Römerberg on Tuesday afternoon, the rally begins with good news: The singer Shervin Hajipour is said to have been released in Tehran. His song “Baraye” (in English: “For it”) has become an anthem of protest. The stanzas are borrowed words from his compatriots, describing the many reasons why they are now taking to the streets to protest against the strict Islamic mullahs’ regime.
On the stage in front of the Römer, Frankfurt’s town hall, two young women, Natalie and Kimia, start the melody, and the crowd sings along fervently. Natalie will later say that her appearance will not allow her to travel further to Iran. You and many of those present are certain that the rally is being monitored by informers from the Iranian regime, so that a trip to relatives could be life-threatening for you. “But now the chance for change in Iran is so great that we still dare,” says Natalie.
According to the police, 4,000 people came to the Römerberg to demonstrate for freedom and democracy in Iran. The death of the young Mahsa Jina Amini in police custody in Tehran three weeks ago triggered a protest movement, which was initially mainly joined by women, and later also by students. The demonstrations have spread across the country, challenging the strict Islamic regime, which has cracked down on protesters.
The Triad of Protest
Among others, a network of Iranian women, politicians from almost all parties from the city and country and the German Federation of Trade Unions called for the rally in Frankfurt. Mayor Nargess Eskandari-Grünberg (The Greens) drummed them up. She speaks more passionately than ever about the conditions in her native country. “We say no to this dictatorship, no to this regime,” shouts Eskandari-Grünberg and demands that economic relations with Iran be broken off.
Again and again the crowd chanted: “Jin Jiyan Azadi”, sometimes also in German: “Women, life, freedom”. This slogan has become the triad of protest in Iran, and many demands revolve around these three terms. It was disenfranchised and patronized women who took off their headscarves and appeared in public, who demanded their freedom and thus a self-determined life for themselves and others, in open contradiction to the rules of the mullahs.
Eskandari-Grünberg hugs speakers from the CDU and SPD, Volt and Greens, Ökolinx, FDP and Linker, all unusually united across party lines in their solidarity with the protest movement. Among the numerous committed speakers, the comedian Enissa Amani stands out in particular, who, for once, is serious and shows her political side. She swears by the unity of the multi-ethnic state of Iran, from which she fled with her parents as a small child. “The minorities are revolutionizing there, and they all want to be seen and treated with the same respect,” says Amani on the Römerberg.