Iranian authorities are cracking down on protests held on the anniversary of Mahsa Amini’s death — a 22-year-old Kurdish-Iranian woman who died in police custody last year.
Crowds of protesters were holding up portraits of Amini, who died on Sept. 16, 2022 after being arrested for allegedly being in violation of the country’s mandatory headscarf law. As protesters in Iran chanted to demand justice for Amini and others who faced similar circumstances, Iranian authorities began to crack down on the protesters.
Authorities detained Amini’s father after her family had suggested that they planned to gather at her grave, according to Hengaw, a human rights organization. According to the organization, other family members were also detained ahead of the anniversary of her death.
Authorities had warned Amini’s family not to conduct a commemoration service.
“Like any grieving family, we, the Amini family, will gather at the grave of our beloved daughter, Jina (Mahsa) Amini, on the anniversary of her death, and we are conducting traditional and religious commemorative ceremonies,” the family said in a statement, despite the warnings.
Hengaw also reported that the city of Saqquez has been “heavily militarized,” especially in the area near Amini’s family’s home. The group also said that a man was shot by security forces near the region and was now in critical condition.
Videos online show that tear gas was being used in Mashad and Karaj, according to the Center for Human Rights in Iran. The group also reported that child soldiers were being used by authorities to reign in the protests.
“One year after Jina Amini’s killing, not one Iranian official has been held accountable for her senseless death in state custody or for the killings of hundreds of peaceful protesters,” said Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). “Instead, the authorities deployed armed forces into the cities while shamelessly threatening activists and family members of slain protesters in a desperate attempt to quell more peaceful demonstrations.”
President Biden issued a statement ahead of the anniversary on Friday, vowing to continue to speak out against violence against women and girls.
“As we have seen over the last year, Mahsa’s story did not end with her brutal death. She inspired a historic movement—Woman, Life, Freedom—that has impacted Iran and influenced people across the globe who are tirelessly advocating for gender equality and respect for their human rights,” he said.
“In the face of continued oppression and violence, the citizens of Iran remain committed to this movement and to their fight for a free and democratic future. Iranians alone will determine the fate of their country, but, the United States remains committed to standing with them—including providing tools to support Iranians’ ability to advocate for their own future,” he continued.
The Associated Press contributed.
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