Iranian women protest with harrowing banner

Woman Protests Mahsa Amini Death
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Three women waved their headscarves and delivered a terrible message in one of the latest videos to go viral from Iran.

the video distributed by 1500 Tasvir, a government watchdog, it showed three protesters standing on a bridge over a busy street in Isfahan, Iran. They were dressed in black and wore masks up to their eyes. In unison, they removed their scarves and twirled them like triumphant flags in the air. A woman raised her other hand in a sign of peace.

“They are not afraid”, declared a person who republished the images on Reddit.

Below the women hung a large banner with a graphic depicting Mahsa Amini, the 22-year-old woman who died after being detained and allegedly beaten by Iran’s morality police, who accused her of deviating from the country’s strict Islamic dress code. country. Within hours of Amini’s funeral, Iranian men and women took to the streets to protest their clerical leadership and the oppressive restrictions on their daily lives.

The banner hung by the three women conveyed their message to social media viewers around the world. She would say, “The next one is one of us.”

Deny Mottahedeh, a duke university professor of Iranian history and feminist studies, said news week that the warning was tragically realistic.

“Now it’s been a pattern every time a video goes viral,” he said. “Every time something goes viral, they get rounded up and the next thing we know, their bodies are being returned to their families.”

Hadis Najafi, a 20-year-old woman, became a symbol of the protests after an image captured her in front of officers with bare blonde hair. The security forces killed her with six bullets to her chest.

Woman protests the death of Mahsa Amini
A demonstrator holds a banner at a rally in support of Mahsa Amini during a protest on October 2, 2022 in Paris, France. Amini, 22, died in police custody on September 16, 2022, three days after her arrest by morality police in Tehran, Iran, who accused her of violating the Islamic republic’s strict dress code for women.

the government crackdown on protests across Iran has been uncompromising. International Amnesty has reported at least 82 people dead, including children, while Human rights in Iran he put the death toll at 133. On September 30, called “Bloody Friday” by many Iranians, security forces killed at least 66 people and injured hundreds more with live ammunition, metal pellets and tear gas.

Mottahedeh said that social media has been central to Iranian protests long before. Twitter, Facebook Y Instagram.

“[Ayatollah Ruhollah] Khomeini, who was the undisputed leader of the [1979] Iranian Revolution, he recorded his sermons on cassette tapes,” he said. “They would be played in mosques and on stereos that young people carried on sidewalks throughout urban and rural areas. So that’s absolutely a form of social networking. I mean, talk about going viral.”

Women’s leadership in the country’s bold demonstrations is also not new, Mottahedeh said.

“Women have been at the forefront of most of the uprisings and protests that I have studied since the 1840s,” she said. “What is unique this time is the incredible support that Iranian women receive from women all over the world.”

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