Mahsa Amini and Recent Protests Against Government Repression in Iran
By Bella Mendoza
Iran is facing a wave of public anger with protests occurring since mid September. These protests have now escalated, with Iran violating human rights and citizens being executed for speaking their truth. Iranian soccer player, Amir Nasr-Azadani who represented their country at the World Cup, is being sentenced to death in connection to the protests.
These mass civilian protests have been shaking the county for the past three months. The protests emerged when Mahsa Amini, a 22-year old woman who was arrested by morality police for violating Iran’s laws requiring women to cover their hair with a hijab or headscarf, was killed in police custody. She was brutally beaten with a baton with countless blows to her head, facing major damages, according to witnesses. Despite this, the police made an official statement that Amini died of a heart attack, realizing footage of her collapsing in the police station. Meant to ease the public’s worry, this instead enraged Iranians. From then on protests have been emerging across the state, with citizens demanding more freedom and an end to the repressive regime.
These protests were a long time coming. Years of economic crisis, lack of freedom of expression, ignoring women's rights, internet cutoffs, and brutally shutting down civil protest have led Iranians to flock to the street and demand a new form of government.
Since then, there have been hundreds of protests in Iran with all types of Iranians flocking to the streets. The movement, however, has been pushed by the younger generation organizing protests and openly speaking out against the government. Despite the attempt at civil protests, the Iranian government has used violence to suppress them, killing over 400 people, including 63 children. People are shown no mercy, as citizens have been shot for honking their horns in support of protests and journalists, lawyers, celebrities, and other public figures have been put behind bars to silence them.
These protests are not only isolated in state capitals, but all throughout the county. Over 100 cities have had anti-regime protests, even including some of the most conservative ones like Qom and Mashhad, making it bigger than any previous protests the country has seen.
Leading up to the World Cup in late November, the crisis in Iran continued to be at the major forefront of world news. When the Iranian soccer team premiered at the World Cup, they recognized the activism of the protesters and stood with them by refusing to sing the national anthem. This was an extreme and symbolic act for the national team to make as major repercussions could potentially occur when they arrive back to their home county. Soccer player, Amir Nasr-Azadani, has now been sentenced to death for participating in these protests and standing with the anti-government rhetoric.
This crisis continues to worsen in Iran with people being sentenced to death on a daily basis. Attention and condemnation needs to be put on this repressive government and it's time that people world wide demand a change. Making noise and demanding change on an international scheme could help spark change in Iran, making it a safe place for everyone to live.