Mahsa Amini death: Iran restricts internet as anti-hijab protests spread
Iranian authorities restricted internet access on Wednesday as mass protests against the government are growing following the death of Mahsa Amini, who was detained last week for allegedly wearing the hijab loosely. People are unable to access Instagram, which is one of the last Western social media platforms allowed in the country. The death toll has risen to eight which includes a police assistant.
- Massive protests erupted across Iran after Amini was allegedly killed by the country's "morality police."
- Women are seen removing their hijab, collectively burning it, and chopping their hair short, as a symbolic resistance to the government and its coercive strategy.
- Iran has been facing severe criticism over its strict moral policing towards women, including enforcing the hijab and chastity law.
There were reports of the government considering internet restrictions for security concerns. Internet was shut down completely in Kurdistan province, reported Hengaw. WhatsApp users weren't able to send pictures or videos, just text messages. This will make it difficult for people to share information and organize protests. Since November 2019 protests over fuel prices, Iran has witnessed the most severe internet restrictions, reported NetBlocks.
Iranian media reported four deaths on Tuesday and Wednesday, which took the official number of deaths to eight. This includes a police assistant and a member of a pro-government militia. Hengaw, a Kurdish rights group, said that at least 10 people were killed by government security forces. It alleged that security forces opened fire on protesters, injuring at least 43 people.
In the beginning, the protests were concentrated in the northwestern parts of Iran, which has a significant Kurdish population. Since then, the protests have spread across the country. The last mass protest took place in November 2019 in which 1,500 people were killed, as per Reuters. The authorities have reportedly suppressed unrest by the Kurdish people, who are a minority in the country.