Tragedy struck last week when Ukrainian International Airlines Flight PS752 was downed in Iran, killing all 176 people on board the plane.
Rumours immediately began swirling about what brought the plane down. Tensions between Iran and the United States were peaking after U.S. President Donald Trump ordered a drone strike to kill Iranian General Qassim Suleimani, whom many countries perceive as Iran’s second-in-command.
Iran was expected to retaliate, and they did, bombarding two American military bases in Iraq with missiles, which ultimately did not result in any casualties or injuries. A few hours after that attack, however, news broke that Flight PS752 heading to Kyiv was brought down, and many naturally wondered if there was a connection.
After initially saying that the Ukrainian plane was downed due to technical malfunction, Iran claimed responsibility this weekend, saying “human error” led to a missile unintentionally bringing down the plane.
Of the 176 victims aboard, 82 were Iranian, 63 were Canadian, 11 were Ukrainian, 10 were Swedish, 4 were Afghan, 3 were German, and 3 were British.
As of writing, of the 63 Canadians, 14 were Iranian-Canadians with ties to British Columbia, devastating the Iranian communities they were a part of, and memorials for the victims were held across Metro Vancouver throughout the weekend.
Candles and flowers were laid outside Amir Bakery in North Vancouver, a Persian bakery run by a family whose mother and daughter were aboard the downed Ukrainian plane.
We are learning new information today about some of the Iran plane crash victims from B.C. @NeetuGarcha reports from North Vancouver, where a memorial has sprung up outside a bakery where a man who lost his wife and daughter in the tragedy.
— Global BC (@GlobalBC) January 9, 2020
Then please allow me to say it as I stand at a vigil in N. Vancouver for victims of the #UkrainianPlaneCrash. @realDonaldTrump his @GOP enablers, & the Iranian government have civilian blood on their hands. Such devastating & unnecessary tragedy! #AmirBakery #Canada #IranUSA pic.twitter.com/i2DeD3HVKv
— Heidi Groot (@WhistlerHeidi) January 9, 2020
— Alissa Thibault (@AlissaMThibault) January 9, 2020
Several bouquets of flowers, along with a card, were found outside North Vancouver City Hall.
Outside the North Vancouver City Hall is another memorial. The card reads:
“In Memory — of those who perished in the Tehran plane crash, and for all those in our community and across the country who are mourning the loss of their loved ones.”@BCITJournalism pic.twitter.com/tBEQAdRDX7
— Michelle de Leon (@mdeleon_bcit) January 9, 2020
And on Sunday, many gathered outside the Vancouver Art Gallery to mourn the victims, as well as protest the Iranian government for its lack of transparency immediately following the incident.
Iranian communities in Vancouver, Canada hold vigil for victims of Ukrainian plane crash which killed 176 aboard pic.twitter.com/GqOAM0rSJh
— Xinhua North America (@XHNorthAmerica) January 12, 2020
— The Vancouver Sun (@VancouverSun) January 13, 2020
People across #Vancouver were touched by those whose lives were tragically cut short on Flight #PS752. You could see that at the vigil today outside of the Vancouver Art Gallery, where we remembered our friends & neighbours. We mourn for them & all who lost their lives. pic.twitter.com/CZxrWfHHXg
— Harjit Sajjan (@HarjitSajjan) January 12, 2020
View this post on Instagram
I want to sincerely thank dear Minister of national defence and MP Mr. Harjit Singh for taking the time from his extremely busy schedule in snow and cold to come to Vancouver Art gallery to honour and pay his respect to our dear Iranian victims and thier families. we are truly appreciate your support and kindness. We are very grateful 🙏 @harjitsajjan #vancouver_canada #iran #canada🇨🇦 #ps752 #ps752crash #humanrights بی نهایت سپاسگزار از جناب هارجیت سین وزیر دفاع ملی کانادا برای حضور گرمشون و حمایت بازماندگان قربانیان هواپیمایی اکراینی . ما بی نهایت شکرگزار از حمایت و مهربانی و همدردی شما و حکومت کانادا هستیم . 🙏🙏🙏🖤🖤
Immediately following the drone strike that killed Iranian General Qassim Soleimani, Iran, which was home to countless anti-government protests in 2019, was united in their grief. After the Iranian government claimed responsibility this past weekend, however, the divide again returned.
As highlighted by the New York Times, protesters in Iran chanted “Our enemy is right here.”
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