Iran hijab protests: Death toll mounts to 31 as anger grows; curb on internet, social media

In addition, significant and conveniently-timed internet outages were also reported across the country, along with one of the biggest mobile phone operators being disrupted

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Thursday, September 22, 2022, 07:43 PM IST
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At least 31 civilians have been killed in an Iranian security forces crackdown on protests that erupted over the death of Mahsa Amini after her arrest by the morality police, an Oslo-based NGO said Thursday, AFP reported.

Unrest all over Iran is mounting over the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, detained for allegedly breaking strict hijab rules, enter their sixth straight day.

In response to the growing unrest, Iran has curbed access to social media networks Instagram and WhatsApp. In addition, significant and conveniently-timed internet outages were also reported across the country, along with one of the biggest mobile phone operators being disrupted.

Millions of Iranians were left offline as a result, which in turn made it harder for them to coordinate and organise protests.

NetBlocks reported a “nation-scale loss of connectivity” on Iran’s main mobile telephone provider and another company’s network.

WhatsApp’s servers were disrupted on multiple internet providers, hours after Instagram’s services were blocked, London-based NetBlocks added.

The group’s data shows a near-total disruption to internet service in parts of Kurdistan province in western Iran since Monday, while the capital city of Tehran and other parts of the country have also faced disruptions since Friday, when protests first broke out.

The death last week of Amini, who was arrested by morality police in Tehran for “unsuitable attire,” was the catalyst that unleashed long-simmering underlying anger over various issues, including freedoms in the Islamic Republic and an economy reeling from sanctions.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei did not mention the protests -- some of Iran’s worst unrest since street clashes last year over water shortages -- at all during a speech on Wednesday, where he commemorated the bloody 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war.

The official IRNA news agency said a “police assistant” died from injuries on Tuesday in the southern city of Shiraz.

“Some people clashed with police officers and as a result one of the police assistants was killed. In this incident, four other police officers were injured,” IRNA said. An official quoted by IRNA said that as many as 15 protesters were arrested in Shiraz.

In Kermanshah, the city prosecutor said two people had been killed on Tuesday in riots.

“We are certain this was done by anti-revolutionary elements because the victims were killed by weapons not used by the security apparatus,” the semi-official Fars news agency cited prosecutor Shahram Karami as saying.

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