ST. LOUIS – The Iranian community held a candlelight gathering at Washington University in memory of Mahsa Amini – the 22-year-old Iranian woman who died in police custody earlier this month.

The members of the Iranian community said they want to stand up for women’s rights and human rights, and they’re fed up and tired with what’s been going on in Iran, their home country.

“We are here to support Iranian people, we are supporting what they are asking, and we are asking for that basic right,” said Parinaz Massoumzadeh, senior scientist at Washington University.

There’s been global outrage over the death of the young woman in police custody. The 22-year-old was arrested by Iran’s “Morality Police,” who enforce the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code, for not wearing her hijab properly.

Authorities said she had a stroke and later died in a hospital. However, her family said she may have been tortured and beaten.

Her death has become a rallying cry, sparking protests across dozens of cities in Iran, including the capital Tehran. 

“[She was] just a normal girl that something happened to her that has been happening to other girls and women in my country for decades,” said Mitra Naseh, who attended the vigil.

The protests continue in Iran. And here in St. Louis, frustration grows.

“I think it happened at the period of time that people were really tired, and had enough,” Naseh said. “None of the promises that the government has been giving to the people has been fulfilled so far. So, it’s a combination of many things that took it to this point that people have nothing to lose. They had enough.”


“A lot of people are angry, a lot of people, especially young females,” Massoumzadeh said. “They think that this could be them tomorrow or today. Parents are not comfortable because they think it can happen to their kids.”

An investigation into the cause of her death is expected to turn up results within weeks. The community plans to hold another event on Saturday at Tower Grove Park at noon to remember Mahsa Amini.