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The Today

SOCO Student Media from Colorado State University Pueblo

The Today

SOCO Student Media from Colorado State University Pueblo

The Today

Masha Amini and the Death that Sparked Worldwide Protests

Masha+Amini+and+the+Death+that+Sparked+Worldwide+Protests

By Angel Palma and Madison Lira

Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman in Iran, died in police custody after being arrested for wearing her headscarf too loosely on Sept. 16. The law that Amini violated states that all women in Iran, including foreigners and non-Muslims, are legally required to wear a hijab in public. Those who choose not to have the possible consequences of imprisonment for up to two months and is required to pay fines. 

Iranian authorities claimed that Amini died of heart failure. Still, her family and protesters have accused the Iranian government of covering up her death as they believe she was killed by law enforcement. It was later shown that she was beaten and struck in the head several times, furthering the belief that her death was a cover-up. 

The protests for Amini began after her funeral was held on Sept. 17 in her home region near the Kurdistan province, northwest of the country. It immediately spread across Iran to over 80 cities and has primarily grown big in the nation’s capital, Tehran. Protests have also swelled across the globe. 

President Joe Biden had recently vowed, “We’re gonna free Iran,” at a recent campaign speech in California. 

Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, Director of the NGO Iran Human Rights, had told TIMES magazine, “What you see is people who are fed up with a regime. Not only do they take away people’s civil and political rights, but they also interfere in people’s most private aspects of life, like what you wear.” 

It also leads to why people are protesting, as this isn’t just a women’s rights issue or even just calling for removing harsh hijab laws in the country. It’s a movement highlighting the harsh realities of living under an authoritarian regime. 

On Oct. 28, one of Iran’s most elite technical universities, Sharif University of Technology, emerged as an unexpected hub for protests and is fueling Iran’s most significant anti-government movement in over a decade, according to AP News. Even earlier in the month, on Oct. 2, security forces at the university cracked down on protesters, resulting in a violent hours-long standoff between police and students that immediately prompted an international outcry. Many plainclothes security officials raided the campus against the protesters there. 

Despite protests and the family of Amini speaking out against her death, the Iranian government still insists that she was not beaten by police and passed away due to heart failure. Protesters across the country, especially in Tehran, have been met with brutal force against the riot police the government has deployed.

According to the Iran Human Rights group, at least 277 protesters have died, and thousands more have been arrested and charged for participating in the protests. The Iranian government has also been restricting internet usage within the country by blocking access to social media sites and messaging apps while also shutting down entire web access for hours at a time to deter the organization of protests and conceal police response. 

According to Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, ”America is aiming to destroy our national unity…Americans fancy repeating the experience of Libya, Syria, and some other countries, in our country.” 

Along with Raisi, the top judge in Iran expresses that the ‘rioters’ should be given harsh sentences as now is not the time to ‘avoid showing unnecessary’ sympathy. 

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