Washington: As the protests entered their 12th day over the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, Iranian riot police and security forces clashed with demonstrators in dozens of cities.
Ten days after her death, the protests have now spread across at least 46 Iranian cities, towns, and villages. Meanwhile, a rights group claimed that over 75 people have been killed in the protests amid clashes with security forces.
The Iranian authorities’ official death count, however, remained at 41, including several members of the security forces.
Despite a growing death toll and a fierce crackdown by security forces using tear gas, clubs, and, in some cases, live ammunition, videos posted on social media showed protesters calling for the fall of the clerical establishment while clashing with security forces in Tehran, Tabriz, Karaj, Qom, Yazd, and many other Iranian cities.
The women in Iran have been publicly chopping off their hair and burning their hijabs to protest against the country’s draconian laws. People are chanting ‘Death to the Dictator’, calling for the end of the three-decade rule of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader.
The Iranian government has dismissed the protest as a ‘foreign plot’ rather than the expression of public outrage over Mahsa Amini’s death. There were also some pro-government marches in the city where the marchers chanted, “American mercenaries are fighting the religion.”
The government’s decision to restrict Instagram, LinkedIn, and WhatsApp — three of the last Western social media apps working in the country — has limited the ability of protesters to organize and share their videos with the outside world.
Instead, only short clips find their way out, including those of security forces firing at protesters and women defiantly cutting off their hair and burning their hijabs. Security forces, including motorcycle-riding volunteers with Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, have attacked peaceful demonstrators.
In a strong show of resistance and rage, the massive anti-hijab protest in Iran has been one of the strongest protests against the ruling government in recent times and women have stood at the forefront. (India Today)