Murder of Mahsa Amini and revolts in Iran
28 September 2022
Mahsa Amini was a young Kurdish woman of 22 years old. On 13th September, on a family trip in Tehran, she was arrested in the street and taken away by the Islamic Republic’s morality police under the pretext that a wisp of hair was sticking out of her compulsory hijab. Two hours after her arrest, Mahsa was transfered unconscious to a hospital in Tehran : she had received blows on the head, probably in the police car or during the « educational meeting » inflicted upon women who do not abide strictly by the dress code imposed by the regime. She died on 16th September after three days in a coma. Mahsa’s death first shattered her native Kurdish city of Saghez. Her funeral gave rise to marches that spread over the next few days to more and more cities in Iran and then to the whole world.
To date, rebellions have taken place in over 80 Iranian cities, including some very religious cities such as Qom or Machhad. Women are taking off their hijabs and burning their headscarves in protest. The slogans are aimed at the whole regime: “We do not want the Islamic Republic” or “Kamenei (the supreme guide) is a murderer, his reign is illegitimate”…
Various police forces are savagely repressing those popular uprisings. On the morning of 24th September, some human rights organisations gave a death toll of at least 49 persons killed during the first days of the rebellion. The actual number could be much higher given that, as was observed in previous revolts, the authorities falsify the death certificates of those who are shot and they put pressure on their families to guarantee they remain silent by threatening not to return the bodies to the relatives. In spite of dozens of arrests these past few days, one first demonstration took place at the University of Tehran on that same 24th September, and the participants were even more numerous than the days before.
The repression is terrifying: tear gas, tonfa blows and live firing. The police apply the most dreadful tactics to take the protesters by surprise, for instance by using public transport and ambulances to move around. And the political police is more active than ever: dozens of students have been arrested in gatherings organised on the premises of universities throughout the country. Arrests are rife also among the political activists who simply criticise the regime without even calling for its overthrow, as young people and the population do. The Internet, and in particular the mobile Internet is, as usual, either slowed down or cut off in the areas where the protest movement is strongest. The regime does its utmost to ensure that the people cannot organise, or publish information, or broadcast the photographs and videos of the atrocities that are carried out at every street corner. Still, many documents evade the censorship: pictures of protesters covered in blood or shot dead, a video clip showing police officers hunting down protesters, breaking down the doors of houses whose inhabitants have offered them shelter…
In spite of the repression, the movement continues to gather momentum. The motto “Woman, Life, Liberty”, which comes from the Rojava and was chanted in Kurdish during Mahsa’s funeral, has become the rallying point of all protesters: first taken up in several Kurdish towns of Iran, it has spread to the entire country and been translated into various local languages (Persian, Turkish, Arabic, etc), and to the rest of the world during support marches at an international level, where the Iranian rebellion is met with unprecedented solidarity.
In effect, numerous senior politicians and many anonymous people have shown their support to the women’s movements in Iran. Several groups of hackers have taken down some Iranian government sites and media. The hashtag #Mahsa_Amini, in Latin as in Persian (#????-?????), has become the most used of all times on Twitter’s social network.
International solidarity is paramount.
For us, anarchists, this massive uprising against the oppression of women and against the religious tyranny of a totalitarian State is a breath of fresh air. It is a revolution that we are calling for. The Anarchist Federation naturally stands in solidarity with all the insurgents of Iran, and calls on each and every freedom-loving person to support the struggle of the women and of the Iranian people.
Long live solidarity with the struggle in Iran! Long live freedom!
French Anarchist Federation