Nashville's Kurdish community protests against Iranian government

Posted at 4:22 PM, Nov 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-25 17:22:54-05

NASHVILL, Tenn. (WTVF) — The rippling effect of the deadly political unrest in the Middle East is being felt in Nashville. On Monday, Kurdish community members held a rally in front of the federal courthouse on Broadway.

Nashville has the largest local Kurdish community in the U.S. A group of them protested against the Iranian government, standing in solidarity with Kurds in Iran, who they say are simply being persecuted for who they are and for practicing basic human rights.

The unrest stems from decades of conflict between Kurds and the Iranian government. But it boiled over in recent weeks when protests erupted after the government spiked gasoline prices by 50 percent.

Demonstrations quickly turned into violence, killing dozens of people raising the death toll to possibly more than 200. Local leaders say majority of the victims have been Kurds. Supporters say say the government caused an internet outage, cutting communication to the outside world, making it even harder for those in the area.

"They just not stop killing people, there's no free speech, there's no democracy there's absolutely a dictatorship and that's why people came out to the streets, we are here to support them," said Hassan Nazi.

Demonstrations by Kurdish Americans have become all too common across the country recently. Specifically, after President Trump's controversial decision to pull U.S. troops from Syria, abandoning Kurdish allies against ISIS in the process. The recent push for support is uniting local Kurds.