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Iran’s “Women, Life, Freedom” Protests

Content Warning: Violence and death

Over the past four months, there have been the longest-running anti-government protests against the Islamic Republic of Iran. More than 700 protesters have been killed, including at least 69 children by the government. Many people are walking the streets calling for the end of the leadership of Ali Khamenei, Iran’s current Supreme Leader. There has been a response from the government by shooting at protesters, cutting off Iranian’s access to the internet, and executing outspoken protesters (BBC).

Though there were protests from 2017 to 2018 and in 2019 the most recent protest broke out when a 22-year-old Iranian woman, Mahsa Amini died in the custody of Iran’s morality police. She was arrested by the morality police for wearing her hijab in an “improper fashion.” According to her family, she was beaten and died three days after while still in police custody. This has elicited a response from Iranian women who have been cutting their hair, burning their headscarves, and protesting using the slogan “Woman, Life, Freedom.” “Mahsa Amini is now a global symbol for freedom, not just in Iran,” says Nina Ansary, a women’s rights activist (Forbes).

Currently, many people including celebrities have expressed their support for the protesters and have paid the price by being arrested. For example, Iranian actress, Taraneh Alidoosti was arrested after she condemned the execution of a protester. Furthermore, Iranian soccer player Amir Nasr-Azadani was sentenced to death after participating in protests. He was arrested and accused of killing a police colonel and will be hanged.

Timeline of Protests

  • September 16th, 2022: Mahsa Amini fell into a coma after being beaten by the morality police.

  • September 17th, 2022: During Mahsa Amini’s funeral, hundreds of people protested and security forces opened fire on the crowds. Inscribed on her tombstone was "Beloved Žina [Mahsa], you will not die. Your name will become a code [rallying call].”

  • September 21st, 2022: The protests spread around the country and began to intensify as social media and internet connections were cut off.

  • September 25th, 2022: It was reported that the police forces were firing live ammunition onto protesters as they continued in various parts of Tehran. A hacker group called Anonymous broke into Iran’s Supreme Audit Court database releasing information about the members of the Iranian Parliament.

  • September 30th, 2022: In Zahedan, the Iranian police fired on civilians during Friday prayers. There were 63 casualties leading this assault to be called “Bloody Friday”

  • October 3rd, 2022: Protests followed after the death of a 16-year-old protester Nika Shakarami who was taken by the police and killed.

  • October 10th, 2022: Protests took place with dozens of oil workers. Since Iran is dependent on oil exports, this was considered to have a large impact on the government.

  • October 12th, 2022: CBS news noted that hundreds of children were being charged and detained with access to their parents and lawyers. Security forces cracked down on Iran’s Kurdish regions.

  • October 26th, 2022: Protests spread to 33 cities, and tens of thousands of mourners gathered for the 40-day anniversary of Mahsa Amini’s death. Protesters were attacked and 13 people died in the mass shooting now called the Shah Cheragh attack.

  • November 3rd, 2022: Mourning ceremonies for Iranians that died were turned into large demonstrations. President Joe Biden in a speech vowed to “free Iran”.

  • November 15th, 2022: There were three days of protests and strikes that were the largest since the start of the protests. This protest was the third anniversary of the 2019 Bloody Abhan protests.

  • December 8th, 2022: The first execution of the Mahsa Amini protests took place killing Mohsen Shekari.

  • December 26-28th, 2022: The 100th day of protests marked these protests as the longest-running anti-government protests in Iran since 1979.

  • January 2023: Two French nationals and a Belgian were accused of espionage. 12,000 people march in France in solidarity with the protests in Iran.

These protests represent a fight for the freedom of choice for women. These protests also represent that the people of Iran do not have the privileges of freedom of speech and are being arrested for protesting. So, reach out to your friends who may have family living in Iran. You should spread the word about the protests and news that are continuing to happen.



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