Internet blackouts, arrests and anger overwhelm Iran

Mainly led by Iranian women and young people, protests have rocked the country for more than a month as government security forces arrest schoolchildren, hackers interrupt a TV newscast and internet blackouts continue to disrupt daily life. .

The protests, which erupted on September 17 following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died while in the custody of the National Vice Police, have led to the deaths of nearly 200 people, of which at least 19 were children, according to Iran Human Rights. Authorities also arrested at least 35 journalists since the protests began, the Committee to Protect Journalists reported.

The battle between protesters and government security forces has been relentless, with neither side ready to acquiesce. In an attempt to disrupt communications with dissidents, the government has shut down internet access – constantly going dark from 4 p.m. local time into the night — forcing citizens to rely on virtual private networks to share their version of events. Elon Musk also activated Starlink, its satellite Internet service, but it encountered access problems since its launch in Iran on September 23.

According to the BBC, on Saturday, hackers disrupted the country’s main news channel with images of the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei surrounded by flames and photos of Amini and three other women killed in recent protests, along with captions such as ‘the blood of our youth is flowing from your paws’. Apparently the interruption only lasted a few seconds.

On Sunday, security forces arrested Iranian children inside schools, The Guardian reported; Iranian Minister of Education Mohammad Mahdi Kazem said that no one had been expelled from the school.

After the unrest reported over the weekend, Seyed MirahmadiIran’s Deputy Interior Minister for Security Affairs, said: “Yesterday, apart from Tehran and Sanandj, the country was completely peaceful… Now, those arrested in the riots will remain in jail until tried. They will be promptly prosecuted and their sentences will be decisive and dissuasive.

As protests continue to grow in Iran, people and leaders around the world have shown solidarity with the protesters. Demonstrations in support of Iran’s protests erupted in the United States, Turkey, Canada, Afghanistan and Pariswith women cut their hair as the universal symbol of solidarity. Earlier this week, Abir Al-SahlaniSwedish member of the European Parliament, cut her hair while delivering a speech at the EU assembly.

Last week, the US President Joe Biden remarks offered for Iranian women: “For decades, the Iranian regime has denied the fundamental freedoms of its people and suppressed the aspirations of successive generations through intimidation, coercion and violence. The United States stands with Iranian women and all Iranian citizens who inspire the world with their bravery. »