Iran seeks calm, threatens Internet blockade



Tehran


Iranian authorities said they would restrict internet access in the country until calm is restored on the streets, as protests over the death of a young woman in morality police custody rocked the Islamic Republic, media reported.


Thousands of Iranians have taken to the streets in protest since the death last week of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was arrested in Tehran and taken to a “re-education center” apparently for not wearing her hijab properly.

Since Friday, demonstrations have taken place in at least 40 cities across the country, including the capital Tehran, with protesters calling for an end to violence and discrimination against women, as well as an end to the compulsory wearing of the hijab, CNN reported.

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A video of an Iranian woman daring the vice squad to arrest her has gone viral on social media:


Dozens of protesters were reportedly killed in the resulting clashes with security forces.

Amnesty International said on Friday that at least 30 people, including four children, had died. According to state-run Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) media, 35 people have died.

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Authorities hope that by restricting the internet they can bring the protests under control, CNN reported.

The videos of massive night-long protests against the hijab ban were posted on social media:


Speaking to state broadcaster IRIB on Friday, Iranian Communications Minister Ahmad Vahidi said: “Until the unrest ends, the internet will be subject to restrictions.


Vahidi’s comments came after videos on social media showed scenes of public defiance, with women removing and burning their headscarves and protesters chanting slogans such as “women, life, freedom.”

The move to further restrict the internet also followed a call from the United Nations for an independent investigation into Amini’s death and for Iranian security forces to refrain from using “disproportionate force” against the protesters.

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Amini’s death has now become a symbol of the violent oppression women have faced in Iran for decades, and her name has spread around the world, with world leaders even speaking at the United Nations General Assembly this week in New York City invoked them, CNN reported.





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