Iran shuts down internet to prevent hijab burning in protest from going viral

Heavy unrest in Iran has shown no signs of abating, prompting the government to cut off internet access to Tehran and Kurdistan.

protests were triggered after the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman, who died in hospital on September 16. Three days after Tehran’s morality police detained her and allegedly beat her for allegedly wearing a hijab headscarf in an “improper” manner.

Activists said Amini had suffered a fatal blow to the head, a claim that has been refuted by authorities, who maintain he died of natural causes. Her family believes that she was subjected to beatings and torture.

Credit: Guardian

Amini’s death came amid a new government decree to crack down on women’s rights. Iran’s hardline President Ebrahim Raisi signed an order on August 15 that increased the punishment for women who post anti-hijab content online.

Raisi has stated that Amini’s death is still under investigation, but that early signs of the investigation showed that there were no signs of violence leading to his death. “All signs point to a heart attack or stroke,” he said while emphasizing “That is not the final determination.”

Protesters have taken to the streets and set fire to police stations and vehicles and containers. A chorus of anti-government slogans is chanted in the streets.

Videos of women cutting their hair and burning their hijabs have proliferated on social media. under the hashtag #Mahsa_Amini.

Iranian state media reported that, by Wednesday, street demonstrations had spread to 15 cities, with protesters being stabbed or shot to death in the northwestern city of Tabriz. Iranian authorities have denied any involvement in the deaths of the protesters.

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Amnesty International said it had recorded the deaths of eight people, six men, one woman and one child, four of whom were shot at close range by security forces with metal pellets.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps has called on the judiciary to prosecute “those who spread false news and rumours”. Fears are rising, low growing concern for the safety of activists if internet blackouts continue.

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