Death, grief and rage: Iran erupts over Mahsa Amini, killed after arrest

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The death of a 22-year-old woman who was detained last week by Iran’s ethics police for allegedly not wearing the proper Islamic hijab has sparked a wave of protests across the country.

The outbreak of domestic political unrest and anti-regime anger over the death of Mahsa Amini coincides with the arrival of President Ibrahim Raisi in New York for the start of the UN General Assembly summit.

The fifth day of protests over Amini’s death erupted on Tuesday, with little sign that the anger was waning. Protests were reported in several cities including Qazvin, Arak and Mashhad. Protests have also taken place in the capital Tehran. A reformist news site published an interview with the victim’s father providing fresh details about her custody by ethics enforcers and raising disturbing questions about her death.

“When we went to the hospital, they didn’t let us meet Mahsa,” Amjad Amini told the reformist website. roydad 24, “They covered his entire body, so we could not see the bruises. I could only see my daughter’s face and the soles of her feet. But of course, I could see the bruises on Mahsa’s feet.”

Protests over Amini’s death have also spread to the western Kurdish provinces, where Amini, an ethnic Kurdish, was welcomed. Protesters raised slogans against Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and vandalized the Islamic Republic’s flag and insignia.

There were reports of dramatic violence and chaos, often briefly documented, in some areas shaky video clips uploaded to the Internet despite apparent bandwidth restrictions.

In one video, Iranian women can be seen and heard clapping and chanting peacefully, until a motorcycle, possibly driven by a regime enforcer, prompts the women to panic and scream as they run. In another segment, a commander on a megaphone warns protesters to disperse as dozens of black-clad riot police gather around a police wagon and prepare to evacuate people.

A video from western Iran on Tuesday showed a lifeless child being hurriedly carried by demonstrators after they were allegedly shot by security forces.

Iranian security forces have tried to suppress the demonstrations with teargas, water cannons and riot police, as well as sending pro-government paramilitary forces into hordes of protesters, who sometimes retaliated with stones and set police vehicles on fire. Put it Videos showed protesters pelting stones while running away from police and plainclothes, a voluntary paramilitary militia.

“I will kill, I will kill, who killed my sister,” he said. “Death to the Islamic Republic.”

According to unofficial reports, at least two people have been killed. Officials have underestimated the protests, claiming they are being exaggerated by foreign media channels, including those serving the Persian language. BBC,

Analysts said it was too early to assess whether the protests would threaten the stability of the regime. Authorities have used violence and arrests to quell protest movements in 1999, 2009 and 2019, as well as sporadic outbreaks of labor, student, ethnic and regional unrest in recent years.

While protests in recent years have focused on specific economic grievances, the focus on the issue of the hijab and the role of security forces in the systematic persecution of Iranian women has made the protests qualitatively different, with women playing a major role.

“There was a wildfire that started with the hijab issue, with most of the protests led by students and women,” said Ali Fatulla-Nejad, an expert on Iran’s domestic politics at the US Council on Germany. “It was not triggered by socio-economic decline. It was triggered by socio-cultural grievances. ,

Reigns will respond with an iron fist, and they will probably succeed in crushing it.

Ali Fattollah-Nejadi

The protests are often characterized by outbursts of solidarity between groups pitted against each other, with men led by women filling the ranks of the protests, and urban elites supporting ethnic Kurds. Voiced, who are often treated as an underclass in Iran.

Still, analysts acknowledged that the protests were too small and scattered to challenge the regime, with deep layers of security forces yet to be deployed.

“The regime will respond with an iron fist, and they will probably succeed in crushing it,” said Mr. Fatullah-Nejad. “As always with these protests, there is no organization or leadership and that is stopping them from becoming a threat.”


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