The death of a woman who was taken into custody by the morality police was the subject of a protest. It's credit
The officers of Iran's morality police must have thought it was normal to arrest a woman. One of the scores of people arrested that day for showing a few strands of hair outside their headscarf was her brother. It shook the theocratic state to its core.
There were no vital signs or brain-dead when Amini was admitted to the hospital hours after her arrest. On Sept. 16, she died. The Iranian public saw a photo of a young girl in the prime of life attached to tubes and blood stains on her ear, which a doctor said could be a sign of severe head trauma.
Protests erupted at Amini's funeral in her hometown of Saqqez in Iran's Kurdistan's Province only to spread across the country. They were marked by the audacity of the protestors, who were led by women. They held aloft pictures of Amini and waved their veils in the air.
Her name was used as a prompt for ordinary people to post their experiences of loss and oppression at the hands of the Islamic Republic on social media. You informed the mother of my cousin's execution after he was imprisoned at the age of 16. The slogan "Mahsa you are not dead, your name has become a symbol" was one of the many uses of the # hashtags. As they were strangers in Tehran, her brother pleaded with them to let her go.
Iranian women with their heads covered face off with police and security forces. The hijab, the covering of hair and body prescribed by faith, became the law of the land after the 1979 revolution that made Iran a theocracy. Parts of Tehran became protest zones on Friday after Amini died. Iranians gathered under a freeway overpass to sing, "This is the year of blood, seyed Ali will be overthrown."
The Islamic Republic was surprised and caught off guard. Immediately, the security apparatus began shutting down. The police, accompanied by paramilitary Basij forces, attacked and beat men and women as they fled their onslaught, with the sound of gunshots clearly audible.
As the protests continued, more and more names and pictures of young men and women claimed to have been killed appeared on social media. The official tally went from more than a dozen to 26 in a matter of hours.
In more than four decades in power, the Iranian state has stamped out many protests, starting with those led by rivals jousting for control of the country after the 1979 flight of the U.S. backed Shah of Iran. In 2009, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets to protest perceived election fraud, only to be broken up by regime forces and mass arrest. When gas prices went up in November, the government responded with live fire. At least 23 children were among the 300 civilians who died in eight days. The internet was shut down in order to obscure the government's actions.
A similar approach seems to be happening now. Most social media has been blocked. Even though Iranians have learned how to circumvent internet restrictions by using virtual private networks, the looming possibility of a complete internet black out has many worried, especially after scores of activists, students, and political figures were arrested on orders by the head of the Judiciary, Gholam-Hossein Mohs
There are recordings on messaging services. A senior Basij commander in the northern city of Rasht can be heard begging his troops to show up for anti-protest operations in an audio file shared on Telegram. The language means that the paramilitaries can use live bullets against protesters.
An intelligence officer called a young protestor in Kerman, demanding that he stop inciting crowds by making speeches on the street or face consequences. The officer was told to do his best.
Despite the risks, the protests continue. There are clips and images on the internet showing riot police and plainclothes agents being chased and beaten up by protesters. With at least 80 cities reported to be protesting, security forces are stretched thin, and reports of disagreement among them began to circulate.
At the same time, more and more Iranian celebrities, actors, and athletes have come out publicly in support of the protesters, demanding the state back down and listen to them. Shahab Hosseini, a celebrity who was close to the establishment, joined those demanding an end to the violence.
The first week of protest may have been a restraint on security forces. President Raisi went to the UN General Assembly in New York in order to discuss restarting the Iran nuclear deal. Raisi's return and no deal in hand has activists warning of a repeat of November.
The managing director of Keyhan, a newspaper close to the Supreme Leader, warned earlier this week that security forces would return to the streets. The Revolutionary Guards Corps promised the victory of the enemy. There were reports of increased violence and the use of more deadly equipment by security forces in the western Kurdistan region. Schools, universities, cinemas, theaters, and even some government offices will be closed in Tehran in the coming days in an effort to stamp out the protests. The counter- demonstrators called for the execution of the protesters.
The issue goes beyond hijab.
A political analyst in Tehran who did not want to be named due to safety concerns said that the death of Amini was the spark in the powder keg of Iranians' discontent.
Many Iranians no longer have any hope for the future in the Islamic Republic and the state no longer has the economic means to solve or delay its problems.
The revolution of 1979 was in the name of God, but the current protests are in the name of humanity.
Yeganeh said the demonstrations are a revolution. Women want to live based on their own understanding of religion.