Image: Batool Dandash/ Wikimedia Commons

Iran Protests: university students stage sit-down strikes

Women, Life, Freedom,’ is a chant that has rippled throughout Iran following the killing of Mahsa Amini, a twenty-two-year-old woman in the custody of Iran’s morality police.

Iran’s strict regulations limiting the freedom of women perspired as a result of the Iranian Revolution in 1979, whereby new rulers instituted a theocratic framework mirroring that of the Taliban’s reign in Afghanistan.

Ayatollah Khomeini, serving as the first supreme leader of Iran, began the incitement of men’s control throughout the social hierarchies of the country. His first act as the new leader was the physical and symbolic shrouding of women and girls.

Compulsory wearing of the hijab, a strict code of conduct, exclusion from certain public activities and spaces, and a severe marginalization of women and girls was largely imposed by the government.

The heavily controversial death of Mahsa Amini was described as a natural heart attack by Iran’s government, whilst the theory was supported by video ‘evidence’ of the young woman falling to the ground in the police station she was detained in. Others reported Mahsa was beaten to death by police armed with batons.

Close to half a century after the largest revolution in Iranian history, Iranian women are leading a movement for freedom supported by copious amounts of men spread throughout the nation.

University students across Iran have stood largely in solidarity with Iranian women, staging sit-down strikes in support of anti-government protests and the revolution for women’s freedom. Students have demanded an end to classes until fellow students imprisoned throughout the protests are freed. Student activists have suggested that over three hundred individuals have been detained following the eruption of protests over six weeks ago.

Alongside arrests, Iran’s Human Rights Activists News Agency have stated 234 people have been killed by security forces, with 29 of these being children. Strict regimes blanketing the freedom of individuals throughout Iran has resulted in independent media outlets such as the BBC being barred from reporting inside Iran, meaning information on the conflict within the country is limited to that dispersed by the government and activists utilizing platforms on social media.


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