The protest movement in Iran has been bravely in the streets for well over 2 months now, and it has shown no signs of stopping. Recent murmurs of abolishing the morality police are seemingly being ignored by protesters (and walked back by the Iranian government), as many have their sights trained are far higher targets.
The current round of demonstrations began after Mahsa ‘Jina’ Amini died after being arrested by the Iranian morality police (she was likely murdered from a vicious beating in police custody). She was picked up for nothing more than wearing her head covering too loosely. Immediately after the news broke, people began taking to the streets all over Iran.
Women have been at the forefront of these protests and countless videos of women burning their hijabs or shaving their heads have circulated nonstop around social media. However, because of the oppressive regime’s thin skin, a common trait amongst dictators, the internet has been spotty at best in the country. Along with this, immense violence has been meted out against those brave enough to put themselves in the line of fire for equality.
Much of this violence has been directed at minority dominated areas on the peripheries of Iran, namely against Kurds (Amini was herself Kurdish). Likely because Iran wishes to overwhelm protesters with brutality in order to scare them into submission, and this is easier to do in rural areas as their are fewer people watching and against minority groups, as they tend to receive less sympathy.
However, none of this has seemed to phase the protesters, and there is a strong argument to make that it has only made them more resilient and closely bound. Unwilling to cower or be split along demographic lines, the protesters have powerfully come together with one simple demand, “death to the dictator.”
With all of the violence and oppression that the Iranian people have felt at the hands of the Ayatollah, this seems to be quite a reasonable request. After all, who wants to live in fear under a despotic bigot?
Likely the biggest threat to the movement is a drop in international attention and support. The world must continue to pay attention to what is happening in Iran and circulate it as widely as possible. Where material aid can be give, it must be. Dictators must get the wall, and the people of Iran must get their freedom.