The death of the 22-year-old Kurdish woman has ignited simmering tensions over social freedoms.
Images and video shared on social media showed displays of defiance against the strict dress code.
Iran restricts access to Instagram, one of the last remaining social media platforms in the country.
The death toll from Iran’s protests rose Wednesday, as outrage swept the country following the death of a young woman in the custody of the Islamic Republic’s morality police.
On Tuesday night, the fifth day of escalating anti-government protests saw violent clashes between security forces and protesters. Images and video shared on social media showed defiance of the strict dress code that appeared to have led to Mahsa Amini’s detention last week.
In one, a woman sits aloft alone in a crowded public street, head uncovered, cutting off her ponytail in front of a roaring crowd. Another twirls next to a bonfire, hair flailing and hijab in hand, before tossing the veil into the flames, followed by others.
According to internet shutdown watchdog NetBlocks, as those images and unrest spread, Iran restricted access to Instagram, one of the country’s last remaining social media platforms.
The death of the 22-year-old Kurdish woman has rekindled simmering tensions over social freedoms, drawing thousands to the streets across the country and international support.
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“I think we’re all in awe of the bravery of Iranian women who have long pushed their demands forward despite all the restrictions,” Tara Sepehri Far, senior Iran researcher at Human Rights Watch, told NBC News on Wednesday. “This time, they’re pointing out the systemic nature of morality police violence and calling for the law to be repealed.”
“In Iran, protests quickly turn into broader political grievances, and what people chant in the streets reflects that,” she continued. “However, I believe it is fair to say that they came together in support of accountability for Mahsa’s death and transformative changes to mandatory Hijab laws.”
According to the Kurdistan-based Hengaw Organization for Human Rights, protesters took to the streets in at least 14 cities across Iran on Tuesday, with many chanting anti-regime and pro-rights. women’s
According to the group, internet access has been completely cut off in all cities in the Kurdish region since early Wednesday morning, following similar disruptions reported by state media earlier this week in Tehran.
Iran’s communications minister said earlier Wednesday that he had been misquoted after news outlets quoted him as saying the government might disrupt internet services for security reasons.
Authorities confirmed three people were killed during the unrest on Wednesday, including a member of the security forces. According to Hengaw, the death toll in the country’s Kurdish region alone was at least seven.
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