Protests and Crackdown Continue in Iran

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It’s been five weeks since street protests have sparked in Iran. Around 12,500 people have been arrested so far. Nearly 250 civilians were killed by Iran authorities. The numbers were released by a prominent Human Rights group HRANA.

Children among victims

According to the activist news agency, of those killed, 32 were children. Minors under 18 joined the riots to show their disapproval against the Iranian regime. A week ago, Amnesty International, a Human Rights international non-governmental organization, stated that 23 children were killed. There were 20 boys between 11 and 17 years old. Three girls, two were 16 years old and one 17 years old.

The news followed after the Iranian government stated that security forces were about to curtail the protest. In his words, “sedition is going through its last moments.”

Protests Are Ongoing

However, protesters on social media wrote and filmed saying that the fight was ongoing. Despite blocks on social media tools initiated by Iran’s government, Iranians are still managing to share images of the protests.

Reports from Iran indicate that despite widespread arrests among striking workers and young protesters on streets, the uprising continues.

Videos and images available online show riot police. In some cases, authority memberber are captured and beaten up by demonstrators. At least 80 cities are reported to be actively protesting.

Several managers of Iran’s refineries and factories whose workers have been on strike, were arrested on October 20.

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Sharia Law and Chador

The anti-government protests erupted after the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini. The young woman was beaten to death while in the custody of so-called morality police. Officials, for their part, say she died from an underlying health condition. She was detained for an alleged violation of headscarf rules.

Since the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran, women have been required to wear islamic clothing. Women must wear a chador, a cloak that fully covers the body, or a headscarf and an overcoat that hides arms and legs. But over the forty decades, women started to wear their hijab loosely, letting hair appear.

Amini’s death provoked anger at first in women who, fed up with sexist and misogynistic laws, took to the street. They are burning their headscarves and chanting “Death to the dictator”, referring to Iran’s president, Ebrahim Raisi and to his predecessors who forced compulsory veiling and ruled under the islamic Sharia law. Since then, men also joined Iranian women, fed up with the situation, since they have themselves mothers, sisters, girlfriends and wives to protect.

International Reaction

US President Joe Biden and his top officials pledged support to Iranians protesting for their basic rights. In Europe, the European Union is in the finalization phase to impose human rights sanctions against Iran. The United Nations condemned repression against Iranian demonstrators. The UN called on security forces to stop using “unnecessary or disproportionate force”.

Some European politicians also showed their support to Iranian women in their fight with a strong gesture. Belgium’s foreign minister Hadja Lahbib cut her hair in parliament in support to Iranian women and their right to freedom. Swedish European Member of the Parliament MP Abir al-Sahlani also took scissors during Assembly session and stated

“Until Iran is free our fury will be bigger than the oppressors. Until you, the women of Iran are free, we are going to stand with you.”

Global Demonstrations

On October 22, thousands of people in Europe and the United States marched to show their support to Iranian women. In the US, women and men were waving Iran’s green, whit, red flags, shouted “Be scared. Be scared. We are one in this,” followed by “Say her name! Mahsa!”

80,000 people were present in a rally in Berlin on the same day. It was the largest that happened around the world. Among other cities, demonstrations also took place in Sweden, Italy, France, Switzerland.