Death of Mahsa Amini in Iran: 11 dead in six days of demonstrations

Iranian officials have denied any involvement of the security forces in the deaths of the demonstrators.

Le Monde with AFP

The Iranian authorities blocked access to Instagram and WhatsApp Thursday, September 22, after six days of protests against the death of a woman arrested by moral police, in which 11 people perished, according to an official assessment. The death of Mahsa Amini, 22, aroused strong convictions in the world while international NGOs have denounced a “brutal” repression of demonstrations. At the UN tribune on Wednesday, the President of the United States, Joe Biden, said he was united with “courageous women of Iran”.

The young woman, from Kurdistan, had been arrested on September 13 in Tehran for “wearing inappropriate clothing” by the moral police, a unit responsible for enforcing the strict dress code in the Islamic Republic of Iran, Where women must cover their hair and are not allowed to wear short coats above the knee, tight pants or holes. She died on September 16 at the hospital. According to activists, she received a deadly blow to the head, but Iranian officials denied and announced an investigation.

The demonstrations were triggered immediately after the announcement of his death. Since then, they have taken place in fifteen cities, to Qom, southwest of Tehran, a birthplace of the Iranian supreme guide, Ali Khamenei. According to a latest assessment published by Iranian agencies Thursday, seven demonstrators and four members of the security forces were killed during protests.

Iranian officials have denied any involvement in the death of the demonstrators. Amnesty International denounced a “brutal repression” and “the illegal appeal to the shots of grenailles, steel balls, tear gas, water cannons and sticks to disperse the demonstrators”.

viral images

of demonstrators protest against the death of Mahsa Amini, September 21, 2022, in Tehran. demonstrators protest against the death of Mahsa Amini, September 21, 2022, in Tehran. -/AFP

Since the start of the demonstrations, the connections have been slowed down and the authorities then blocked access to Instagram and WhatsApp. “By decision of the officials, it is no longer possible to access Instagram in Iran since Wednesday evening and access to WhatsApp is also disrupted,” said the Fars news agency. This measure was taken due to “actions carried out by counter-revolutionaries against national security through these social networks,” said Fars.

Instagram and WhatsApp were the most used applications in Iran since blocking platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Telegram, Twitter and Tiktok in recent years. In addition internet access is largely filtered or limited by the authorities. In southern Iran, videos apparently dating from Wednesday show demonstrators burning a huge portrait of General Qassem Soleimani, killed by an American strike in Iraq in January 2020.

Elsewhere in the country, demonstrators burned police vehicles and chanted slogans hostile to power, according to the official agency IRNA. The police retaliated by tear gas and many arrests.

Other images show demonstrators resisting the police. The most viral on social networks are those where we see women set fire to their scarf. “No to the scarf, no to the turban, yes to freedom and equality!”, Cried demonstrators in Tehran, their slogans having been taken up in solidarity in New York or in Istanbul.

/Media reports.