Nearly four weeks after protests began against Jîna (Mahsa) Amini’s killing by Iran’s morality police demonstrations show no sign of abating. As hackers and key petrochemical workers showed their support, speculation rose that the country is inching toward a new revolution.
More than 1,000 petrochemical workers from a state-owned plant in the southern city of Asulyeh, Bushehr province, downed tools on Monday and marched under slogans of “death to the dictator”, overlooked by a heavy security presence, Radio Liberty reported.
As images of the strike circulated on social media under the hashtag #IranRevolution, Carnegie Endowment Senior Fellow Karim Sadjadpour was among several commentators who noted the key role petrochemical workers had played in the 1979 revolution that brought the current theocratic regime to power.
Today in Iran, workers strike at Bushehr Petrochemical, chanting “Do not fear, do not fear, we are all together.” Striking oil workers played a critical role in the 1979 revolution. pic.twitter.com/gwLmD5jt5q
— Karim Sadjadpour (@ksadjadpour) October 10, 2022
The continuing protests show a determination that has kept thousands on the streets in the face of brutal measures by the state.
A weekend of violent interventions in the western city of Sanandaj led to at least four deaths and many more injured. The security forces reportedly fired shells and submachine guns at civilians in the predominantly Kurdish city.
But the violence has not slowed down acts of defiance, with women openly breaking the Islamic Republic’s notorious morality laws by walking in public without the state-mandated hijab.
And the open defiance spread to Iran’s airwaves this weekend when hackers appeared to take over the state broadcaster to broadcast images of Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei in crosshairs over images of Amini and three other young women killed by police.
‼️l Hacking of #Iran official TV news broadcast tonight with image of Supreme leader Khamenei on fire, photos of #MahsaAmini & other women killed in protests, & slogan of uprising at bottom “Women, Life, Freedom”: pic.twitter.com/kOGFgvcmpj
— Joyce Karam (@Joyce_Karam) October 8, 2022
“Our youth’s blood is dripping from your paws,” the BBC quoted the caption, attributed to hacker group Adalat Ali, as saying. “Join us and rise up.”
Such visible acts of rebellion have been a rare occurrence in the decades since Iranian Ayatollahs seized power after the 1979 revolution. With the protests showing no signs of abating, and images reportedly showing even members of the Iranian riot police joining in, some have begun describing 2022 as the beginning of a new revolution.
“Protesters are demanding that we stop calling these #IranProtests and start calling it what it is: #IranRevolution2022,” said actor and Amnesty Internationa ambassador Nazanin Boniadi in a tweet.
Protesters are demanding that we stop calling these #IranProtests and start calling it what it is: #IranRevolution2022 ✊🏽#MahsaAmini #مهسا_امینی https://t.co/3ZCOQD28wB
— Nazanin Boniadi (@NazaninBoniadi) October 9, 2022