Protestors in Iran took to the streets again on Saturday despite the waves of arrests and the rising death toll, as the Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi pledged to take decisive action against the uprising.
Widespread protests have swept the streets of Iran, after 22-year Jina Amini (Mahsa) lost her life after falling into a coma following her arrest by the country’s morality police for disobeying the hijab law.
The death toll in the nine days the protests have continued so far has risen to 41, according to Iranian state television. However, human rights organisations say that at least 56 people have lost their lives.
“Since Mahsa’s death, we have recorded the deaths of dozens of men, women and children. Hundreds of others have sustained painful and serious injuries, including at least two who have been blinded in one or both eyes,” London-based Amnesty International said on Friday. “Most are not seeking hospital treatment for fear of arrest, increasing the risk of infection and other health complications,” it added.
The human rights organisation on Saturday warned that there was “the risk of further bloodshed amid a deliberately imposed internet blackout” in the country.
Internet watchdog Netblocks announced on Saturday that after the restriction of Instagram, WhatsApp and LinkedIn, Skype is now also restricted in Iran.
Hundreds of angry demonstrators have been arrested, along with reformist activists and journalists, Agence-France Press reported. The chief of police in the northwestern province of Gilan announced “the arrest of 739 rioters, including 60 women” in Gilan alone, it said.
The press freedom watchdog the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said at least 17 journalists had been arrested in Iran this week, including photojournalist Yalda Moaiery and Shargh Daily reporter Niloofar Hamedi, who are among those who have reported on Amini’s death.
The protests have spread through most of the the 31 provinces in Iran, and rallies have been organised in other countries to show solidarity with protestors.
Meanwhile, individual efforts to draw the international community’s attention to Iran have also intensified.
Iranian filmmaker Bahman Ghobadi penned an open letter to the Academy of Motion Pictures, requesting the Academy to help Iranian protestors spread the word.
Roger Waters the co-founder of Pink Floyd, also shared a video, expressing his solidarity with the protestors, arguing against those who say protest in other countries is nobody’s business: “Protests in Iran is my business because I am a human being”.
The musician reminded the Ayatollah that all people are related. “Mahsa Amini is my sister. She should be alive today. And all her sisters in Iran and elsewhere in the world should be able to make their own minds up about whether or not their heads are covered,” Waters said.