Thousands of Iranians take to the streets to defend the wearing of the veil

Thousands of Iranians take to the streets to defend the wearing of the veil

Thousands of people marched in Iran on Friday at the call of authorities to defend the wearing of the veil and denounce the “mercenaries” after a week of protests sparked by the death of a young woman were arrested by police, which at least was made 17 dead.

While NGOs abroad denounced a “brutal” repression of demonstrations in Iran, internet connections there were still severely disrupted on Friday with the suspension of WhatsApp and Instagram, while Washington announced measures “to support Iranians’ access to the free flow of information”. .

Mahsa Amini, 22, was arrested in Tehran on September 13 by the Morality Police, which are responsible for enforcing the Islamic Republic’s dress code, for “wearing inappropriate clothing”. She died in hospital three days later, and her death sparked nighttime protests in major Iranian cities, including the capital Tehran.

State media on Thursday reported the deaths of 17 people in those demonstrations, but NGOs like the New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) have called for higher tolls. “Independent sources speak of 36” deaths, CHRI said on Twitter on Thursday evening.

– live ammunition –

“The government responded with live ammunition, shotguns and tear gas, according to videos shared on social media,” CHRI said in a statement.

The Kurdish human rights organization Hengaw reports that the security forces fired on the demonstrators in Oshnaviyeh (northwest) with “lightweight weapons +” on Thursday night without giving any further details.

In several cities, according to media and activists, protesters clashed with security forces, burned down police vehicles and chanted anti-government slogans.

Police arrested an unknown number of people, Iranian media reported. Among them, according to their entourage, are activist Majid Tavakoli and journalist Nilufar Hamedi.

The most viral images on social networks are those where we see Iranian women burning their headscarves. In Iran, women are required to cover their hair and are not allowed to wear short or tight coats or jeans with holes.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi on Thursday promised an inquiry into the young woman’s death, specifying that the coroner had not reported any abuse by the police, which protesters deny.

Faced with the demonstrators being labeled “counter-revolutionaries”, “rioters” or “conspirators”, the authorities decided to retaliate by organizing their own demonstrations after Friday prayers.

At the call of an organization responsible for organizing official events, thousands of people demonstrated in several cities in Iran, notably in Tehran, Qom (north) or Isfahan (centre).

– “Death to the Conspirators” –

An Iranian woman carries a picture of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei during a veiled protest in Tehran September 23, 2022 (AFP – str)

According to state television, hundreds of people, including women in chadors, demonstrated in Tehran with flags of the Islamic Republic as a sign of support and thanks to the police.

“Death to the conspirators”, “Advocating for the end of the veil is American policy” were the slogans to be heard.

The Revolutionary Guards, the Islamic Republic’s ideological army, hailed the “efforts and sacrifices of the police” and in turn assured that the recent “enemy conspiracy” was “doomed to fail”.

Authorities reported the deaths of five police officers on Thursday.

Thousands of Iranians take to the streets to defend the wearing of the veil
Undated photo posted to Elon Musk’s Twitter account showing one of 60 Starlink satellites ahead of their launch in May 2019 (@elonmusk/AFP/Archives – HO)

After the protests began on the evening of September 16, the government restricted access to the Internet and has blocked access to Instagram and WhatsApp since Wednesday.

On Friday, Washington announced the lifting of certain trade bans with Iran to allow tech companies to provide platforms and services that enable Iranians to access the internet.

The announcement comes days after SpaceX owner Elon Musk said he intends to apply to the US government for an exemption from sanctions against Iran to offer internet connectivity services there via its constellation of Starlink satellites.

Iranians march in Tehran on September 23, 2022 to defend the wearing of the veil (AFP - -)
Iranians march in Tehran on September 23, 2022 to defend the wearing of the veil (AFP – -)

These measures are intended to “allow technology companies to provide the Iranian people with more options for secure external platforms and services,” the US Treasury Department said in a statement.

NetBlocks, a London-based website that monitors internet blockades around the world, said Friday that Iran’s internet restrictions amount to a “lockdown-like disruption pattern.”

Access to “online platforms remains limited and connectivity is intermittent for many users,” Netblocks said, adding that mobile internet “has been suspended for a third day (this) Friday”.


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