FILE PHOTO/Belgium, Brussels, 2023/02/20. Demonstrators hold signs and Iranian flags during a protest on the sidelines of a meeting of foreign affairs ministers at the European Union headquarters. Photograph by Valeria Mongelli / Hans Lucas. REUTERS./

 – Iranian emigres marched in Brussels on Friday, the eve of the first anniversary of the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian woman whose death in the custody of Iran’s morality police sparked months of anti-government protests.

Thousands of demonstrators, holding up pictures of Amini and many others killed in the protests, called for the overthrow of Iran’s theocracy and the establishment of a democratic republic.

Organisers said they had also demanded a unified European Union policy to hold Iran’s Shi’ite clerical rulers accountable for abuses.

ANALYSIS: Biden Is Giving A Gift to Islamic Republic on Mahsa Anniversary

The protests that followed the death of Amini, arrested for allegedly flouting the Islamic Republic’s mandatory dress code, spiralled into the biggest show of opposition to the Iranian authorities in years.

Over 500 people including 71 minors were killed, hundreds injured and thousands arrested, rights groups say, in unrest that was eventually crushed by security forces.

The Tehran government has accused the United States and Israel and their local agents of fomenting the unrest to destabilise Iran.

(Reporting by Yves Herman; writing by GV De Clercq; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

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