- 27 Sep 22
Protests in support of Mahsa Amini's family and Iranian women have also been held globally in Brussels, New York, Madrid, Paris, Berlin and several other cities.
Since the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in police custody, protests have been gathering flame all over the country of Iran and further afield. Amini was arrested on September 13 in Tehran for wearing her hijab "incorrectly," and was pronounced dead three days later. Although the Iranian authorities claim she died of a heart attack, releasing heavily edited footage of a woman fainting, many Iranians believe she died at the hand of law enforcement and are accusing the government of trying to cover up her murder. Iranians have took to the streets to protest for over 10 days straight.
Amini was originally arrested by the morality police, the branch of policemen that enforce conservative Islamic dress and etiquette, including the law that loose clothing and hijabs must be worn by all women regardless of nationality or religion. After her death, the morality police claimed that they had sent her to a detention centre where she collapsed of a heart attack, but Amini's family and many Iranians disagree.
According to Associated Press, reports and witnesses concur that Amini was beaten to death by the police while trying to resist her arrest. Accounts say that she died from multiple blows to the head, and images from the hospital show her bleeding out of her right ear.
Amini's death triggered a wide-scale demonstration in over 80 Iranian cities, with Iranian women at the forefront. Following her murder, women have shown their solidarity with Amini by publicly burning their hijabs and cutting their hair. Crowded have swelled at the capital of Tehran, with signs reading phrases such as "I am Mahsa Amini" and "Women, Life, Freedom", calling for the downfall of the Islamic Republic itself. Terrifying footage has surfaced from all corners on the internet, showing police firing bullets at protesters, throwing tear gas and physically assaulting demonstrators.
— Rana Rahimpour (@ranarahimpour) September 23, 2022
In an article by Iran Front Page, Iran's Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi reported to state broadcasting network IRIB that "based on objective observations, interviews with witnesses, reports from relevant agencies, and other investigations, there was no beating involved." He went on to criticise people that are making claims "with no evidence" and claimed that organised groups are attempting to create chaos.
The government's response to the protests has been a near-total internet black out. Starting on Wednesday 21st September, Iranians were cut off from the internet and mobile data. Iranians are already cut off from foreign apps such as Facebook, Twitter, Telegram and Youtube, but are able to get around restrictions with VPNs and proxies. This blackout makes it hard for people to organise protests, document mistreatment or find information, and many Iranians have taken to social media in fear to get their voices out before they are silenced. TIME magazine reports that during the last internet black out in Iran in 2019, reports show that around 1,500 people were killed.
According to watchdog Iran Human Rights and a report from Reuters, at least 57 people have died so far during the demonstrations, and over 733 have been injured. The number of deaths may very well be higher, but the government's response to enter a blackout has resulted in a grey area of information. More than 1,200 demonstrators have been arrested, according to The Associated Press.
One of the killed includes 20-year-old Hadis Najafi, who was shot six times by security forces in Iran.
20 yr old #HadisNajafi was killed by security forces in Iran after being shot 6 times during the protests. She is one of countless courageous Iranians who have lost their lives in the pursuit of freedom, human rights and justice. #MahsaAmini #مهسا_امینی #IranProtests2022 pic.twitter.com/K0jnB18vh3
— Dr. Nina Ansary (@drninaansary) September 25, 2022
Amini's cousin, Erfan Mortezaei, who lives in self-exile in Iraq, believes she was tortured.
"She was tortured, according to eyewitnesses," he claimed. "She was tortured in the van after her arrest, then tortured at the police station for half an hour, then hit on her head and she collapsed."
Thousands paid respects at Amini's burial in western Iran. Protesters have also stoned images of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Canada will be placing sanctions on dozens of Iranian individuals and entities, including the country’s morality police, it was announced. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the sanctions Monday — but did not name the individuals or entities — in an address mainly concerning post-tropical storm Fiona’s impact in Canada’s east.
“Unfortunately, Iran doesn’t respect human rights, and that’s nothing new,” Trudeau said. “We will stop at nothing to ensure this regime is held to account and we’ll support the families until justice is served."
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- 16 Aug 22