Iranian political activist interviewed about the country’s widespread protests

Iran 2022 Protests: More than 400 protesters killed and over 20,000 arrested.

Iranians have been taking to the streets since mid-September to protest the death of Mahsa Amini, 22. The initial outcry, sparked by the violent enforcement of a government dress code that includes mandatory hijab for women, has morphed into Iran’s largest protest movement in years.

Protests began in Saqqez, Amini’s hometown, and spread to major cities such as the capital, Tehran, and Mashhad, as well as ethnically diverse regions such as Azerbaijani Turks, Arabs, Baluchis, and others.

Despite a government crackdown by both police and a plainclothes paramilitary group known as the Basij, which has resulted in over 200 deaths and many more being imprisoned, the movement is now in its fourth week and can be found in high schools and college campuses, oil refineries, and city streets across the country.



Defiant young women have emerged as protest leaders and symbols, with the deaths of more girls and women, such as Hadis Najafi and Nika Shakarami, at the hands of security forces fuelling public outrage.

A male Journalist and Political Activist from Saqqez who risked his life at protests spoke to the Intelligencer publication about how the uprising began, what it’s been like on the streets over the past month, and what has kept them going.



“The mood in Saqqez has been dark and fearful since the day we found out Zhina had been hurt. Her family was well-known in the community. Everyone had been waiting to hear how she was doing since the beginning.

Authorities refused to give the family any information about what had happened, and they put intense pressure on them to bury her as soon as possible. However, Zhina’s family stood firm, and the case was widely publicized. The funeral drew large crowds. People wanted to stand up and support her family,” explained the young male.



Mahsa Amini was a victim of the ruthless morality police in Tehran. She was a member of the Kurdish ethnic minority from Saqqez, a town in northwest Iran. She was savagely beaten by morality police and died of her injuries on September 16 in a Tehran hospital.

“When her body arrived at the cemetery, crowds chanted in Kurdish, ‘A martyr does not die!’ People were furious. The crowds chanted, ‘Don’t be afraid!’ indicating that they were there to support the family.

The crowds continued to yell slogans outside the police station. The day after the funeral, city businesses went on strike and refused to open. Kurdish political groups invited people to participate, and they did,” he continued. “The protests started almost immediately, as did the arrests.”



“With heavy weapons, the Revolutionary Guards stormed into town and took over many major squares. They stand guard around the clock, dress for battle, and shoot at anyone who tries to gather. In response, the city went on strike. Teachers refused to teach, and students refused to attend class.”

“There were protests and clashes with security officials the evening after the strike. Every day, people wait for a spark to set something off. It could be someone honking loudly or a group of young people walking down the street and suddenly beginning to yell slogans. They appear out of nowhere, protest, and then disperse. During the day, word spreads that people should take to the streets in the evening, and they do,” he concluded.



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