By Kayhan Life Staff
The death of Mahsa (Zhina) Amini, a 22-year-old ethnic Kurd, while in the custody of the morality police in Tehran on Sept. 16, has sparked a nationwide uproar and waves of fearless protests throughout Iran.
In the last few days, hundreds of thousands of people have protested in some 100 cities across the country, including Urmia, Tehran, Manjil, Amol, Sardasht, Semnan, West Islamabad, Ardabil, Gonbad Kavus, Varamin, Talesh, Tonekabon, Zarrin Shahr, Zahedan, Qeshm, Dehloran, Babol, Nurabad, Sarableh, Tabriz, Sanandaj, Nowshahr, Marvdasht, Mahabad, Hamadan, Oshnavieh, Saveh, Shirvan, Ghaemshahr, Garmsar, Babolsar, Kish, Lahijan, Qom, Ahvaz, Kashan, Rudsar, Paveh, Kerman, Quchan, Pakdasht, Dehgolan, and Anzali.
Iranian authorities have shut down the internet and some mobile phone services, and heavily filtered social media and messaging platforms. Yet the security forces’ brutal crackdown on protests has failed to discourage massive crowds from pouring into the streets.
The size and scale of the protests in major cities have overwhelmed the riot police.
Footage posted on social media shows large and angry crowds in various cities shouting anti-government and anti-establishment slogans, including “cannons, tanks, and bullets, clergy must get lost,” “death to the dictator,” “this is the last message, the regime is the target,” “death to Khamenei,” “watch out for the day we arm ourselves,” “neither Gaza nor Lebanon, we give our lives for Iran,” and “Seyyed Ali is a murderer, his rule is illegitimate,”
This 20 Yr old girl who was getting ready to join the protest against the murdering of #MahsaAmini got killed by 6 bullets.#HadisNajafi, 20، was shot in the chest, face and neck by Islamic Republic’s security forces.
Be our voice.#مهسا_امینیpic.twitter.com/NnJX6kufNW
— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) September 25, 2022
This is the funeral of 20 year old #HadisNajafi, who was shot dead on the streets by security forces for protesting yhe murder of #MahsaAmini by Hijab Police.
Hadis was a kind hearted girl and loved dancing. pic.twitter.com/tduxVe1SZf
— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) September 25, 2022
In some cities, security units and riot police have reportedly used teargas, water cannons, rubber bullets, and even live ammunition. Security forces routinely use tasers and batons as compliance tools to control and disperse crowds.
Protesters have used their hands, stones, and sticks to defend themselves against armed riot police and security forces. To neutralize the effects of teargas, protesters have set fire to tires and trash bins. They have also removed metal fences and piled them up to prevent antiriot police vehicles from entering parks and other areas where protests are held.
A tweet by Kayhan London on Sept. 22 said: “Watch out for the day we arm ourselves. #MahsaAmini. #IranProtests2022.” The tweet included undated footage of protesters shouting, “Watch out for the day we arm ourselves.”
The size and scale of the nationwide protests have surprised Iranian authorities.
Security forces and riot police are said to lack the resources to crack down on the widespread unrest in major cities.
Iranian state media said on Sept. 21 that the recent unrest marked the first time that authorities used all-female special security and police units to crush protests.
The commander of the all-female special unit of the Law Enforcement Command of the Islamic Republic of Iran [FARAJA] told the Tehran-based Mehr News Agency that her unit had arrested “eight women leaders” of the protests on Sept. 20.
In several cities, women protesters publicly removed their headscarves and set fire to them while shouting “woman, life, freedom.”
Girls and women of all ages have had a significant presence in recent protests.
Footage on social media showed girls and women removing their headscarves and setting fire to them in front of riot police and security units.
Video clips on social media showed riot police fleeing angry protesters in some cities.
“Forcing the Islamic Republic’s oppressive forces in Amol [in the northern province of Mazandaran] to flee. #MahsaAmini. #IranProtests2022,” another tweet by Kayhan London said.
The tweet included undated footage of protesters forcing an antiriot police vehicle to drive in reverse.
Massive protests have occurred in various parts of several cities across the country.
Dozens of protests were repeatedly held in various parts of Tehran on Tuesday night (Sept. 20), including in Keshavarz Boulevard, Valiye Asr intersection (formerly Pahlavi intersection), Narmak, Tehran Pars, Sadeghiyeh Square (formerly Arya Shahr), Tajrish, Hafez Bridge, Vey Park, Karimkhan and Shahrak Andisheh.
There have also been reports of smaller protests in side streets and alleys in and around Tehran, including in Robat Karim, Shahr-e Rey, and Qarchak. Protesters also poured into the streets of Karaj, Shahriyar, and Varamin.
The city of Langarud in the northern province of Gilan was the site of a large protest Wednesday night (Sept. 21).
A source close to the events in Langarud told Human Rights Activist News Agency (HRANA) that “plainclothes agents, carrying batons and tasers, attacked and beat up people at two locations in Langarud; Serah-e Rapashte and Fajr Park.”
“There was so much tear gas in the air that people could hardly breathe inside their homes,” HRANA reported quoting the same source. “Three people were injured, most of whom suffered head injuries after being hit with batons.”
In another tweet on Sept. 21, Kayhan London said: “People’s legitimate resistance against armed security and riot police. #MahsaAmini. #IranProtests2022.”
The tweet included undated footage of a large crowd of protesters-pixelated faces-shouting at riot police.
Protesters in the holy city of Mashhad, the capital of the northeastern province of Khorasan Razavi, reportedly set fire to Ahmad Abad police station. According to reports, people attacked the police stations after units sheltering inside fired on protesters. Crowds in various parts of the city were reportedly shouting “death to Khamenei” and “death to the dictator.”
Protesters reportedly attacked a police station in Garmsar, southeast of Tehran, after police units inside the building fired on the crowd.
Protesters reportedly attacked the office of the Friday Prayer leader in Shirvan, in Khorasan Razavi Province, breaking the windows of the building.
Footage on social media showed protesters in some cities reportedly setting fire to antiriot police vehicles after security units abandoned them in retreat.
People shared another video clip on social media of protesters reportedly setting fire to a branch of Bank Sepah in Tabriz, the capital of the northwestern province of East Azerbaijan.
Another footage showed protesters tearing pictures and images of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the founder of the Islamic Republic, the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
Sept. 24, 2022 – #Babol #Iran
Demonstrators tear down posters of the Islamic Republic's Supreme Leader, #AliKhamenei and its founder, #AyatollahKhomeini, from Babol University's walls. #IranProtests2022 #IranProtests #MahsaAmini #مهسا_امینی #No2IR #KayhanLife #Mahsa_Amini pic.twitter.com/m4k4LFqUm4
— Kayhan Life (@KayhanLife) September 24, 2022
Protesters in Kerman, the capital of the southeast province of Kerman and birthplace of the former commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Qods Force (IRGC-QF), Lieutenant General Ghasem Soleimani, tore up a large banner depicting the late general and shouted: “death to the dictator.”
General Soleimani died in a U.S. drone strike on Baghdad International Airport on Jan. 3, 2020.
“Tearing up Ghasem Soleimani banner in Kerman, the birthplace of the general. #MahsaAmini. #IranProtests2022.” a tweet on Set. 21 by Kayhan London said.
The tweet included an undated video clip of protesters climbing a scaffolding, slashing, tearing, and setting fire to a large painting on a banner depicting images of General Soleimani.
Plainclothes security agents reportedly walked among the protesters to disperse the crowd and isolate individuals before arresting them in alleys.
Another tweet by Kayhan London on Sept. 21 included footage of Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi, in which he said: “Greeting to my courageous compatriots. I always wished to see the unity you have shown recently across the country. Together, you stand strong and are stronger than any oppressive force. Continue the same path. You will undoubtedly triumph. You owned the streets. Keep them.”
Riot police and security units have reportedly intensified their violent attacks on protesters.
“The IRGC units in Saqqez [birth city of Masha (Zhina) Amini, in the western province of Kurdistan] have fired on protesters,” a tweet by Hengaw Human Rights Organization on Sept. 21 said. “Hengaw understands the attack on protesters had been so violent that, in a show of protest, the army had exchanged fires with the IRGC for a few minutes.”
Prominent figures in the creative community have expressed their outrage at the death of Masha Amini while in the custody of morality police and the brutal treatment of protesters by security units.
Mohsen Chavoshi Hosseini, the Tehran-based Kurdish musician, singer, record producer, and songwriter, said in a tweet that in solidarity with the people, he had severed all ties with the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance.
Mehran Modiri, a programmer and director at the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), expressed his support in a video clip posted online on Sept. 22.
“Do not broadcast even a single frame of me on any network. That is all I can do right now,” Mr. Modiri said in the clip.
It is unclear how many people have died or been injured since the protests started, given that Iranian authorities have shut down the internet and severely restricted messaging platforms, Instagram and WhatsApp.
According to the Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN), one teenage boy and two young men were killed by Basij and riot police forces in the village of Balo in the western province of West Azerbaijan. It named them Amin Maroufi (16 years old), Danesh Rahnama (25 years old), and Sadreddin Litan (27 years old.)
The three were among ten people who, according to KHRN, have died in the western provinces since the start of the nationwide protests on Sept. 17. The others were Mohsen Mohammadi, Fereydoun Mahmoudi, Reza Lotfi, Farjad Darvishi, Zakaria Khiyal, Favad Ghadimi, and Minou Majidi.
According to an unconfirmed report, security units killed three people in Ghaemshahr, in the northern province of Mazandaran. Another person was shot and killed by riot police in Karaj, 42 kilometers northwest of Tehran.
The Kurdistan police chief has reportedly confirmed that four people had died during the recent protests.
“Some people clashed with the law enforcement forces, which resulted in a person working with the police losing their life,” Lotfollah Sheibani, Governor of greater Shiraz, the capital of the southwestern province of Fars, said.
According to Amar cyber camp, a member of Basij forces was stabbed to death in Tabriz. It identified the deceased as Hossein Ojaghi.
Shahram Karami, the prosecutor of Kermanshah, the capital of the western province of Kermanshah, said two people had died, and another 25 had been injured during protests on Sept. 20.
“The defeat of villainous antiriot forces,” said a tweet by Kayhan London on Sept. 21.
The tweet included footage, dated Sept. 21, of protesters, their faces blurred, pushing back riot police.
According to Hossein Hosseinpour, deputy commander of the law enforcement forces in Gilan, 68 people were arrested, and 43 police officers, Basij, and IRGC members suffered some injuries during the recent protests.
Kurdistan Press Agency, Kurdpa, said that an 18-year-old man named Nachirvan Maroufi lost his right eye after being shot in the face by security units in Saqqez.
The Tehran-based Tasnim news agency, close to the IRGC, reported that a police officer had suffered severe body burn after being set on fire by protesters.
Footage shared on social media showed many of the injured who were shot by pellet guns did not go to a hospital, fearing their identity may be shared with security forces, and instead were treated by doctors and nurses in their homes.
There have been reports of police and security officers identifying and interviewing many of those injured in hospitals. Authorities may file criminal charges against some of the injured protesters.
Anonymous, a decentralized international hacktivist, has reportedly launched a cyberwar against the Islamic Republic to support the Iranian people. Shortly after the group’s announcement, several state agencies’ websites were reportedly disrupted for a few hours, including official government media outlets, the IRIB, and the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance website.