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One year on: Iran steps up police presence for anniversary of Masha Amini's death

Protests in Iran following the death of a young woman in police custody.
Protests in Iran following the death of a young woman in police custody. Copyright -/AFP
Copyright -/AFP
By Euronews
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The legacy of Mahsa Amini lives on. There are still women on the streets of Iran who don't wear a veil.

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In September last year, the world learned something serious was happening in Iran through social networks. 

Outraged women were burning their hijabs, leaving their hair exposed in defiance of the theocratic regime. This after the death of Mahsa Amini in police custody, a young Kurdish-Iranian woman who was detained by the morality police for wearing her veil incorrectly.

The protests spread like wildfire on 15 September 2022; youth fed up with the oppression of a regime most consider outdated. The authorities responded by restricting access to the Internet and social networks.

The regime accused the United States, Israel and their agents of having fomented the protests. The West tightened sanctions and Iranian authorities made a show of force by gathering tens of thousands of people in Tehran in defence of the mandatory use of the hijab.

Soon, the protest movement gained momentum and the slogan "Women, life, freedom" was heard in every corner of the country. 

The government committed to silencing the protesters by force, shooting at crowds on multiple occasions. In the following weeks, there were hundreds of deaths, including members of the security forces. Tens of thousands of people were arrested and seven people were sentenced to death for their participation in the protests.

Vahid Salemi/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved
The name of 22-year-old woman Mahsa Amini who died in the September 2022 is written with red colour over a black colour covering a previous anti-government slogan, in Tehran.Vahid Salemi/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved

In February, authorities sent a signal of appeasement, declaring an unprecedented amnesty for protesters. Meanwhile, numerous girls' schools were attacked with toxic gas, leading some to speculate that the regime's hardline supporters were responsible. There are those who see the hand of the hard wing of the regime, which nevertheless firmly condemns the events.

The crackdown took effect and the protests faded over time. Determined to reimpose the use of the veil in public spaces, the government has toughened the law and reestablished the patrols of the controversial morality police.

But there are still women on the streets who don't wear a veil and the memory of Mahsa Amini remains alive. The government has redoubled the police presence to prevent a resurgence of protests on the first anniversary of her death.

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