It has now been over six weeks since the death of Mahsa Amini, which has sparked nationwide protests across Iran. Amini died in the custody of Iran’s morality police, after being arrested for violating the country’s strict dress code for women and wearing her hijab ‘improperly’. Amini’s death sparked outrage across Iran, where protests have been continuing on a massive scale comparable to the Islamic Revolution in 1979.
On Tuesday, students in universities across Iran held sit-down strikes in a show of solidarity with the anti-government protests. A video taken at Shahid Beheshti university showed a sign that reads ‘for imprisoned students.’ The students are refusing to continue their studies as normal while their classmates are incarcerated. These imprisoned students are part of 14,160 protestors who have allegedly been arrested. A further 287 people have reportedly been killed by security forces.
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Brave Women Leading Protests
The protests as a whole have been spearheaded by women and students, with many dissidents removing their hijabs, and some burning them. As a result, students have been the target of backlash from authorities. Raids on university dormitories saw students being transported by bus to detention centres, while others faced suspension from their institutions. Protestors have been met with open fire and tear gas.
Restrictions on the media and the Internet have also been put in place since the protests began. Over three dozen journalists have been arrested. Instagram, which had been the country’s sole remaining international social media platform, was blocked with the exception of state officials. Iran has also faced internet blackouts, which are not new in the country. The government is also cracking down on ways that protestors circumvent these blackouts, such as VPNs and Tor networks.
Public trials for over 1,000 people indicted for unrest in Tehran are underway and will continue to be held in the upcoming weeks, in an effort to deter protestors. Government authorities have claimed that these individuals have committed crimes such as assaulting and killing officers, as well as setting fire to public property.
Others stand accused of ‘corruption on Earth’ and ‘waging war against God,’ offences which can carry capital punishment. This is the latest in a series of crackdowns which, as of yet, have not held success in putting an end to the protests. Spokespeople for the government have repeatedly called for an end to the protests to no avail, citing foreign influence as being the root causes of the unrest.
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