March 24, 2023

At least eight people were killed in the crackdown as protests over Massa Amini’s death spread across Iran after the young woman was arrested by morality police, according to a comprehensive tally.

Public outrage in the Islamic republic has erupted since authorities announced the death of 22-year-old Amini on Friday, who was being held on suspicion of wearing a headscarf in an “inappropriate” manner. Activists said the woman, whose Kurdish name was Jhina, suffered a fatal blow to the head, a claim the officials announcing the investigation denied.

Video footage that went viral on social media showed some female demonstrators defiantly removing their headscarves, setting fires in bonfires, or cutting their hair symbolically before crowds cheered.

Iran protest
In this Sept. 20, 2022 photo, a non-AP employee and obtained by The Associated Press outside Iran shows a trash can burning during protests over the death of a young woman. In central Tehran, Iran, detained for violating the country’s conservative dress code.

Associated Press

“Say no to the hijab, say no to the hijab, say yes to freedom and equality!” protesters in Tehran chanted at rallies echoed by solidarity protests abroad, including in New York and Istanbul.

In a fifth night of street rallies that have spread to 15 cities, police used tear gas to make arrests to disperse a crowd of up to 1,000 people, Iranian state media reported on Wednesday.

Article 19, a London-based human rights group, said it was “deeply concerned by reports of the unlawful use of force” by Iranian police and security forces, including the use of live ammunition.

Demonstrators threw stones at security forces, set police cars and trash cans on fire, and chanted anti-government slogans, the official Islamic Republic of Iran news agency said, adding that in Mashhad, Tabriz, Isfahan and other facilities. Lazi and other cities held rallies.

Despite online restrictions reported by internet access monitor Netblocks, protesters could be heard shouting “death to the dictator” and “woman, life, freedom” in video footage that spread outside of Iran.

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, spoke publicly on Wednesday, but made no mention of the unfolding unrest, with ultra-conservative President Ibrahim Raisi due to speak at the UN General Assembly in New York later in the day. give a speech.

Germany Iran protests
Iranian exiles from the National Council of Resistance of Iran gather in front of the Iranian embassy in Berlin, Germany, after the death of an Iranian woman held by the country’s “morality police” on September 20, 2022.

Michael Thorne/Associated Press

“Social Crisis”

David Rigoulet-Roze, an Iran expert at the French Institute for International and Strategic Affairs, said the wave of protests over Amini’s death “was a very significant shock, a social crisis. “.

“It’s hard to know the outcome, but there is a disconnect between the authorities and the DNA of their 1979 Islamic revolution and an increasingly secular society,” he said.

“This is an entire social project in question. The authorities are hesitant about where this movement is going.”

Iranian Center for Human Rights in New York Described her death as a “preventable tragedy”.

“Mahsa Amini is one of countless victims of the Islamic Republic’s war on women,” said Hadi Ghaemi, the group’s executive director. “She was arrested under the guise of the state’s mandatory hijab law and died shortly thereafter. The government is responsible for her death and for the decades of women who have been harassed, detained and otherwise harmed under the guise of this discriminatory, inhumane law.”

The protests first erupted on Friday in Amini’s hometown of Kurdistan, where Governor Ismail Zare Kusha said on Tuesday that three people had been killed in an “enemy’s conspiracy.”

Kurdistan police commander Ali Azadi announced another death on Wednesday, Tasnim news agency reported.

Two more protesters were “killed in riots” in Kermanshah province, citing the district’s prosecutor Shahram Karami, the Fars news agency said, blaming “counter-revolutionary agents”.

In addition, Norway-based Kurdish rights group Hengaw said two protesters, aged 16 and 23, were killed overnight in West Azerbaijan province.

Another 450 people were injured and 500 arrested – figures that could not be independently verified, the group said.

Video circulating online showed security forces opening fire on protesters in the southern city of Shiraz, which continued into the early hours of the morning.

Amini’s death and Iran’s response to the protests have sparked condemnation from the United Nations, the United States, France and other countries. The protests were among the worst in Iran since unrest in November 2019 over fuel price hikes.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani on Tuesday condemned what he called a “foreign interventionist stance”.

“It is regrettable that some countries have attempted to use the events under investigation as an opportunity to pursue their political goals and aspirations against the Iranian government and people,” he said.

Iran’s Telecommunications Minister Issa Zarepour warned on Wednesday about internet restrictions, citing “security concerns these days,” ISNA news agency said.

Article 19 said it was “appalled by the local internet shutdown” and recalled that authorities “used the darkness of the shutdown to kill, maim and arrest protesters and bystanders with impunity” in 2019.

Iran protest
In this Sept. 19, 2022 photo, taken by a non-AP employee and obtained by The Associated Press outside Iran, women flee riots while protesting the death of a detained young woman Police officers in central Tehran, Iran, violating the country’s conservative dress code.

Associated Press

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