Culture / People

What you need to know about the protests happening in Iran

iran protests

Dozens of cities in Iran have been embroiled in protest, sparked by the death of a young woman in custody. The protests have continued to escalate over anger towards religious rules and the dire state of the national economy. Large numbers of women have taken to the streets in defiance of the government and the enforcement of its hijab law, mandating hair is covered and only loose-fitting clothing is worn. Here, we breakdown what is happening in Iran and the protests unfolding. 

Why are there protests in Iran? 

The protests stem from the death of a young woman in custody. Mahasa Amini, also known as Jina, was with family on a visit to Tehran from her hometown when she was arrested, accused of violating the hijab law, which came into effect in 1981 after the Islamic revolution. Many women in Iran have challenged the rurling, and it is commonly disobeyed across the country.

Amini died three days later in the custody of the morality police, who enforce Islamic rules. Iranian security forces issued a statement claiming Amini had collapsed of a heart attack at the detention centre, while receiving “training” on hijab rules. Her family dispute this. 

What are Iranian women protesting?

At the protests, many women are taking off and burning head coverings to protest the hijab law, with videos posted to social media showing this even occurring in traditionally conservative and religious cities like Mashhad. Some women have also taken to cutting off their hair. As the anger has gripped the country, more Iranians have joined demonstrations, with some turning the crisis into an outlet for greater frustrations towards the government. 

In response, the government has retaliated with brutal and systematic crackdown tactics seen in previous uprisings. Riot police officers equipped with water cannons, battens and guns have been deployed, along with plainclothes officers sent against protests. 17 people have been killed in Kurdistan alone, with 733 injured. Mobile internet service has also been disrupted, platforms like Whatsapp and Instagram blocked, with these some of the primary means protestors were communicating with one another. 

What do protesters hope to achieve?

Protesters are now calling for the removal of far-reaching religious restrictions governing how people dress, socialise and what they can drink and eat. Analysts believe years of economic decline has tested the patience of many Iranians, who have taken to protesting more frequently over the last few years.  

Stay inspired, follow us.

Image: Twitter