Monday, November 28, 2022

Iran calls for new protest amid internet shutdown

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates ( Associated Press) – Iran suffered a “major blockage” of its internet connection on Wednesday amid calls for fresh protests, weeks after the death of a 22-year-old woman detained by police. Iranian morale, according to an activist group.

The demonstration over the death of Mahsa Aminni has become one of the biggest challenges to Iranian theocracy since the Green Movement protests in 2009. The march included oil workers, high school students and women who removed their hijab, a headscarf that covers hair and is mandatory in Iran.

According to witnesses, the protests that began in the afternoon prompted a massive deployment of riot police and plainclothes officers in Tehran, who also described problems with their cellphone internet connections.

Netblox, an activist group, said internet traffic in Iran had fallen by about 25% from its peak, even on a weekday when students were attending classes.

“This incident is likely to further limit the free flow of information during the protests,” Netblox said.

Despite everything, witnesses said they saw a demonstration in Tehran of at least 30 women who took off their hijab and chanted “Death to the dictator!” Slogan. Despite threats from the security forces, passing cars sounded horns in their support. According to eyewitnesses, the other women went about their daily routine without wearing a hijab as a silent protest.

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The Iranian government says Amini was not treated badly, but her family says she was found with bruises and other signs of assault after being detained for breaking the Islamic republic’s strict dress code. were visible. Later videos showed security officers beating and pushing women at the protests, including some who removed their hijabs.

Discontent is particularly visible in the Kurdish regions in western Iran, as Amini was Kurdish. A Kurdish group called the Hango Organization for Human Rights shared photos of closed shops and empty streets in some areas on Wednesday and said shopkeepers had gone on strike. The group also shared a video which it said was recorded in Saqz, Amini’s hometown, which showed a riot police van passing through the city.

Although protests have focused on Amini’s death, Iran has been witnessing growing unrest for years due to the country’s ailing economy. Sanctions on Iran’s nuclear program have devalued the Iranian currency, the rial, killing many people’s savings.

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It is not clear how many people were killed or detained in the protests.

Iran Human Rights, an Oslo-based group, estimated on Wednesday that at least 201 people had been killed. This includes nearly 90 deaths at the hands of security forces in the eastern city of Zahedan, where protests took place against a policeman accused of rape in a separate case. Iranian officials have linked the violence in Zahedan with unidentified separatists, without providing details or evidence.

Several videos of police firing into the crowd have circulated, in some cases possibly with live ammunition. In an apparent reaction to public pressure, Iran’s police chief, General Hossein Ashtari, claimed without evidence on state television on Wednesday that “foreign counter-revolutionary groups” wore police uniforms and shot people . He claimed that his agents had arrested some of them.

Meanwhile, Iranian Education Minister Yusuf Nouri first confirmed that school children had been detained in the protests. According to the reformist daily Sharagh, he refused to make several arrests, and limited himself to saying that these minors were not in prison, but “in a psychiatric center.”

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