Iran imposes internet blackout in attempt to quell protests  

Iran was in a state of almost complete nationwide shutdown of online connectivity as protests over the death of a woman arrested by hijab police grew larger and increasingly violent.

The internet access observatory’s website mesh blocks and Iranian activists began covering the issue late Wednesday, as much of the country, including the capital Tehran, witnessed intense clashes between protesters and government forces.

Internet data on mobile phones was almost completely disconnected on Thursday, while home broadband was severely disrupted in most hotspot cities. The popular platform Instagram and the messaging services WhatsApp will also be completely blocked for the first time. However, some Iranians managed to get through after trying multiple anti-filter software.

Iranian officials have confirmed the disruptions, with the hard-line Tasnim news agency saying the measures were intended to prevent “communication and coordination between the leaders of the unrest.” The Islamic Republic used a similar tactic to quell the deadly 2019 protests over fuel price hikes.

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Iranians abroad have launched an online campaign to draw international attention to the blackout. “The last time they did that, they killed more than 1,500 people. … Be her voice,” UK-based Iranian actress Falamak Joneidi wrote in an Instagram Story. She was referring to the 2019 riots, when security forces killed over 300 people, according to Amnesty International, while a Reuters report put the number at 1,500. The rallies largely petered out after the week-long internet shutdown.

Despite the recent power outage, fresh protests have taken place on the sixth day after the death of Mahsa Amini in the custody of controversial hijab police, known as the Guidance Patrols. Videos published by opposition bodies showed protesters clashing with armed riot police in Tehran, where women once again set headscarves on fire. In the city of Eslamabad, a police kiosk was vandalized by protesters and elderly people were severely beaten by security forces in two different locations. Another viral video showed riot police Bandar Anzali They broke into an apartment building to hunt down protesters who were being sheltered by the owners.

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State television confirmed that at least 27 people have been killed in recent days, including members of the police and the Basij paramilitary forces, who often attend in civilian clothes. The toll, counted by a rights activist organization, stands at 31.

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Meanwhile, the hacktivist group Anonymous launched a solidarity campaign by shutting down key Iranian government online platforms for hours. last in chain of goals was the website of the Office of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Iranian authorities have shown defiance and are planning a series of “spontaneous” counter-rallies for September 23 after Friday prayers. And the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps issued a statement calling the protests a “riot” planned by the Islamic Republic’s foreign enemies.

Protesters braced for more after Kayhan, the ultra-conservative daily linked to Khamenei’s office, called for a ruthless crackdown, stating “the public wants serious and swift action against these criminals.”

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