Ahead of the one year anniversary of the death of Mahsa Amini, Iranian authorities have increased their presence in cities across the country in anticipation of protests. Mahsa Amini was a 22-year-old woman who died in custody after being arrested by Iranian morality police for not wearing a hijab deemed appropriate by authorities. Her tragic death sparked nationwide demonstrations against the morality dress codes and the subsequent government crackdown.
Rights groups and individuals have taken to social media to bring attention to the planned protests on Saturday. Videos shared online show what appears to be a military tank deployed in Amini’s hometown of Saqez, in the Kurdistan region of Iran, indicating a potential suppression of protests. Protestors in Zahedan have also raised banners stating, Attack on Kurdistan is attack on Baluchistan, highlighting the broader issue of the regime’s discrimination against ethnic minorities.
The Hengaw Organization of Human Rights has reported that multiple military platoons, equipped with heavy machinery, have descended upon Saqez. Checkpoints have been established by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard around the city, and military tanks have been stationed at Aychi Cemetery, where Amini is buried.
Since Amini’s death, Iran has taken a hardline approach towards protestors. Human Rights Watch reported the arrest of at least a dozen activists in anticipation of the anniversary. Furthermore, a joint report from Iran Human Rights (IHR) and Together Against the Death Penalty (ECPM) revealed that Iranian authorities executed 582 people in 2022, with tens of thousands of arrests. Families of the victims who sought legal action against the government faced intimidation and abuse from authorities.
The death of Mahsa Amini resonates beyond the issue of women’s freedom, particularly for communities outside of Tehran. It serves as an example of the regime’s discriminatory treatment of ethnic minorities. As Saturday marks the one year anniversary of her death, Iranians are bracing themselves for further protests, while international attention is being drawn to the ongoing human rights violations in Iran.