Protests in Iran after Mahza Amini’s death. Brutal reaction from the authorities

L. in different parts of Iran.They have been protesting for more than a month since the death of Mahsa Amini. A 22-year-old woman allegedly broke the strict dress code by casually wearing a hijab that covers her hair. Attacked at a police station in Tehran, died on September 16, three days after his arrest. On Sunday, lessons were canceled in many schools, mainly in the northwestern Kurdish provinces. The boycott was organized by the country’s largest teachers union.

Also at Sharif University of Technology in Tehran Protests took place again. There, in the canteen, students tore down the partition separating men and women from each other. Meanwhile, as reported by the AP news agency, an anonymous hacker gained access to the data of the Iranian nuclear organization and emails about the Buszehr nuclear power plant and published them on the Telegram messenger. The group has demanded the release of political prisoners detained in connection with the protests.

The current protests have received widespread support from the Iranian people, challenging Iran’s leadership and theocratic rule more than previous waves of protests. In 2009, after Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was re-elected president in a disputed election, there were months of protests called the Green Movement. Demonstrators wore green wristbands as a symbol of support for former prime minister Mir-Hosejn Musawi, his rival in the election campaign. People took to the streets in December 2017 and November 2019. This time, primarily for economic reasons.

Suppression of street protests in the Islamic Republic of Iran follows a three-phase system. First, the regular police stand up to the demonstrators. If he cannot disband them, the Revolutionary Guards (part of Iran’s armed forces) and their paramilitary volunteer militia, the Sasman-e Basij-e Mostasafin (Union for the Mobilization of the Oppressed), Basij for short (mobilization), go into action. . If the protests continue to spread, unofficial, non-uniformed security forces come to the rescue of those fighting them.

The intensity and scale of the protests in Iran after Mahza Amini’s death prompted the authorities to quickly reach the third phase of the intervention. The most prominent feature of the current repression is extreme and open violence. Many photos and videos have been posted on social media of security officers shooting protesters, beating them, firing tear gas at moving cars, shooting out windows of houses and random passers-by, or besieging the homes of opposition representatives to arrest them.

One of the protesters, who had already been in prison for months after taking part in the 2009 protests, told DW. Officers shoot people with ordinary weapons. – But they use pneumatic pistols with two types of ammunition: one is very painful, and the other, if shot at close range, can cause blindness or even death – he adds.

The Islamic Republic of Iran did not provide exact numbers of those killed or arrested In security force operations. According to human rights organizations, during protests in various Iranian cities 240 people have died so far. Amnesty International says at least 23 of them are minors.

According to an eyewitness The security forces do not exercise any control over the minors or the elderly. He also talks about the differences in the attitude of the authorities compared to their actions during previous protests: – I have often seen people hit with sticks on the head and face with all their might, causing at least serious injuries.

Although apparently All the forces mobilized by the regime are insufficient to contain the ongoing protests. Therefore, the Iranian government additionally recruited thugs and youths and even children. – Next to the security guards, I saw thugs with tattoos on their bodies, like criminals already in jail. Some of them were armed – insists the former political prisoner. On the Internet you can see photos of children standing in the street, in uniform and armed with clubs and shields.

A struggle between the country’s leadership and its enemies It takes place not only in the physical space of the street, campus or classrooms, but also on the Internet. The Islamic Republic of Iran views social networks as a threat to the regime, although high-ranking officials, including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, maintain official accounts there and are very active.

According to the Guardians of the Revolution More than two thousand “cyber battalions” were established to fight opponents of the government and for propaganda purposes.. As protests spread across the country, at least ten high-profile cyber activists and defenders of internet freedom, including human rights activist Hossein Ronaki, have been arrested.

Meanwhile All popular social media platforms like Facebook, Telegram, YouTube, Instagram and WhatsApp are only available via VPN – encrypted virtual networks.It allows you to hide the real address that identifies the device that the user connects to the Internet. Blocking Instagram in particular is a huge obstacle for millions of Iranians who use the platform for all kinds of business. According to a recent report by US NGO Freedom House, Iran is the third country behind China and Burma in terms of various internet restrictions.

Yuhanna Najdi, Deutsche Welle

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