Protests against the literature group swell

Thousands of Iranians are staying night after night Show up despite all the risks Against the government, out of anger over the killing of a young woman who was severely beaten on the head by the literature squad during her arrest last week in the capital, Tehran. 22-year-old Mahsa Amini’s crime was to get too much hair out from under her mandatory veil to the taste of the officers.

In the front lines of all these protesters are women of all ages. Parvez, a local journalist who took part in three demonstrations in Tehran on Wednesday, wrote in a letter to “Most of the women and girls dropped their headscarves on their shoulders.” Norwegian Refugee Council. During the demonstration, girls and young women burned their headscarves and scarves. Older women did it more often, but more often they cut their hair. ”

Many women are relieved that they have finally been able collectively – and with the support of men at least – to show their distaste for the heavy troupe of etiquette. It has made their lives miserable for decades. Azadeh Borzand, an Iranian doing doctoral research at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London, said by phone.

Police stations caught fire

Since then, protests have spread to dozens of Iranian cities and clashes with police have become increasingly violent. On Wednesday and Thursday, police stations were attacked and set on fire in some places, including Tehran. Four police officers were killed, three of them stabbed. Journalist Parvez reports that people show less fear of the police than in previous disturbances and sometimes attack themselves. “This is one of the things I saw for the first time in my life.”

At least 13 civilians have been killed so far. However, the actual death toll is likely to be higher. On Thursday, human rights group Amnesty International decried the fact that police “unlawfully” fired metal bullets at peaceful protesters in recent days. Amnesty International cited cases of two young men being shot in the eye by security forces at close range during protests in Saqqaz after Amini’s funeral, resulting in the loss of their eyesight.

The situation was very volatile in the Kurdish northwest. Soran Mansournia, an Iranian Kurd who studies in Groningen, tries to document the protests as much as possible. He said that his sources reported, Thursday, that 43 people were wounded by gunshots in Oshenvi alone, a regional town near the Turkish border. Eighteen of them were seriously injured, and three were killed.

Analysts point out that – unlike the large-scale riots of 2019, when mainly poor Iranians revolted – this time people from different walks of life are involved. “This is really special, this tremendous sense of loneliness: from Tehran to the provinces on the periphery. But also between women and men,” says Borzand.

According to Borzand, the demonstrations are no longer just about the headscarf and the etiquette squad. Other frustrations about the current economic hardship, rampant corruption and other abuses are also pushing people to take to the streets. It is also about human dignity. You have to fight for everything in this system all the time and feel humiliated all the time.”

Prelude to suppression

However, according to most reports, it is still not about mass demonstrations. Many are afraid. Millions of Iranians remember how the 2019 protests were brutally suppressed, resulting in hundreds of deaths. Parvez: “This regime has shown that it is willing to do anything to stay in power.”

Authorities have attempted to obstruct communication between protesters in recent days by blocking social media. Perhaps this is a harbinger of brutal repression by the regime. The conservative president, Raisi, did not want mass bloodshed before addressing the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Wednesday. The counter-regime attack begins on Friday with a demonstration in front of the government. After that, more violence can be expected.

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