Demonstrations Sweeping All Across Iran



Mahsa Amini, also known as Jina Amini, was an ordinary Iranian woman. On September 13, Amini was arrested by the country’s morality police for wearing a hijab improperly. Then, on September 16, she died in the police station under custody. Despite the police announcement that her cause of death was a heart attack, witnesses said that she was harshly beaten by the police before her death. Her mysterious death incensed Iranian citizens and sparked protests all over the country. 

“Zan, Zandegi, Azadi” (Women, Life, Freedom) 
During the past two months since the outbreak of the protests in September, the demonstrations have only intensified with more and more people sending support and actively participating. Most anger rose amongst the female population of the country, who have lived under the religious governance of Iran that strictly limits women’s freedom. As proof, the first protest took place after Amini’s funeral, where women took off their headscarves. As the protests continued, the women of Iran delivered a clear message, demanding freedom for women. At the protest sites, many women were witnessed taking off their headscarves, burning them, cutting their hair, and lighting them on fire, while chanting numerous protest slogans. The most famous slogan is ‘Zan, Zandegi, Azadi,’ which means ‘women, life, freedom’ in Persian.  
The protests developed to have an anti-regime sentiment to it, with people chanting slogans like “Marg Ba Setamgar,” meaning death to the dictator. Public anger was directed at the religious leaders who have been the proponents of the strict religious rule in the country. On social media, young Iranians shared video footage of them knocking off the clerics’ turbans on the street, as another act of protest against the regime.
The protest is receiving support from people of all backgrounds all around the world. The Iranian beach soccer team was seen refusing to sing the national anthem before the final match of the Emirates Intercontinental Beach Soccer Cup, and later refusing to celebrate their victory. One player imitated cutting his hair, the iconic act of the ongoing protest, after he scored a goal during the match. Many movie stars and pop stars showed support for the protest via social networks. Coldplay, a British rock band with worldwide popularity, performed the protest’s anthem during their concert. The United Kingdom and the European Union announced sanctions on numerous Iranian officials over the country’s violent crackdown on the protest and human rights violations. 

Protesters Under Arrest and Execution
The government's response to the protests is forceful and oppressive. Similar to previous protests in the past, the government attempts to scare the protesters by using excessive police power. Live footage from protest sites proves that the security forces fired ammunition at the protesters. According to the data collected by Iran Human Rights, at least 234 people have been killed by Iranian security forces during protests. Many arrested were sentenced to imprisonment. On November 15, the Tehran court issued the first death sentence over protests.
For the past two months, Mahsa Amini’s name echoed amongst enraged Iranians, who seek a future with more freedom and justice. So far, the government response does not answer their demand, intended only to keep silent the public just as it did for the previous protests.