Middle East Iran tries to quell protests on anniversary of Mahsa Amini's death

The Iranian authorities have been deploying their armed forces in several cities in the country for days and forcing dozens of businesses not to support strikes, in an attempt to contain any street protests

Middle East Iran tries to quell protests on anniversary of Mahsa Amini's death

The Iranian authorities have been deploying their armed forces in several cities in the country for days and forcing dozens of businesses not to support strikes, in an attempt to contain any street protests. This Saturday marks the first anniversary of the death of Mahsa Jina Amini, the young woman who died in police custody after being arrested for not wearing the Islamic veil correctly.

The images of Amini in the hospital, with clear signs of having been beaten during her detention, unleashed a wave of protests that spread throughout the country. Thousands of women took to the streets to burn their veils or cut their hair in an act of protest to demand more freedoms and the end of the current political regime. The protest movement became a cry against the economic crisis and against the authority of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, which was supported by different strata of society in all the cities of the country.

Armed troops from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) stationed days ago at Amini's family home, in her hometown of Saqez, where the young woman is buried. Authorities detained Amini's uncle, according to Shiva Nazar Ahari, founding activist of the Reporters Committee for Rights. In the early hours of Saturday they also detained Mahsa Jina's father, Amjad Amini, for questioning, although hours later he was released, according to Iranian radio Farda.

"Security forces detained Amjad Amini today and then returned him to his home after pressuring him not to commemorate the anniversary of his daughter's death," said the Kurdistan Human Rights Network, in the Aminis' home province. The young woman's family had planned to pay tribute to her in the cemetery, but it was not possible due to pressure from the authorities.

The police deployment has spread to other cities in an attempt to quell small protests against the supreme leader. In Tehran and other important cities in the northeast of the country such as Mashhad or Shiraz, in the south, dozens of people defied the authorities on Friday night and took to the streets chanting: Death to the dictator!" and "Woman, life, freedom!", the latter is the emblem of Mahsa Jina Amini's cause, which created a wave of solidarity both within Iran and from millions of women in other countries.

In the Kurdish towns of Marivan and Abdomen, security forces failed to prevent groups of protesters from lighting bonfires in some areas and shouting slogans. The protests have also spread on social networks, where anonymous users have posted images commemorating the anniversary of the young woman's death.

Two months ago, in a show of unity between Kurdish parties, six groups called a general strike scheduled for this Saturday, due to the "irreversible and unstoppable steps" taken by the thousands of Iranians who took to the streets to protest the violence. police. According to IranWire, dozens of merchants have been summoned in recent days to go to intelligence departments, mainly in Amini's hometown, Saqez, and have been forced to sign a paper stating that they would not support the strike. The outlet reported at least 50 merchants subjected to harsh interrogations.

In the last year, the Iranian regime has responded harshly to street protests, with more than 20,000 Iranians detained, while 500 people have been killed, mostly shot, at the hands of security forces. Nearly twenty people have been sentenced to death for their participation in the protests and seven of them have already been executed. For its part, Tehran insists that the protests are instigated "by foreign powers" and has warned on several occasions that whoever joins the demonstrations will pay a high price.

Aside from the lack of freedoms, the country suffers a severe economic crisis, with high inflation that has worsened with foreign sanctions. On the eve of the anniversary of Amini's death, the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia announced the imposition of new sanctions against individuals and entities, while reaffirming their "commitment to the brave people of Iran." Protests were held in cities around the world such as Istanbul, Madrid, Paris and Brussels to commemorate Amini's murder and demand improved civil rights for Iranians.

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