Iran blocks internet access in Tehran, Kurdistan as protests over Mahsa Amini’s custodial death intensify

The Iranian government decided to shut off the internet in parts of the capital Tehran and Kurdistan following widespread protests that were triggered by the death of a 22-year-old Kurdish woman in police custody. 

The country has been experiencing a massive uproar after Mahsa Amini died following her arrest by the morality police for breaking the tough hijab rules. According to the investigation, she suffered a fatal blow to her head after she was detained by the authorities while travelling to Tehran with her family. 

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As part of the new regulations, the government stopped access to social media sites like Instagram and WhatsApp for everyone in order to stop the users from expressing dissent about the topic online. 

“Platforms like Instagram became the virtual street, where we can gather to protest, because it was not possible to do that in real life,” Shaghayegh Norouzi, an Iranian campaigner, told The Guardian. 

“During the last protests [2017-2019], the government cut off the internet for days at a time. During that time, protesters were killed and arrested,” she said. “Protesters are also using the internet to organise themselves. They can call each other and say when they are in danger or warn each other.”

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According to Reuters, the protests were held in 15 cities across the country and resulted in significant loss of property. The state media also reported that three individuals from the country’s military were also killed in Tabriz while a fourth was found dead in the city of Shiraz. 

On the other hand, Amnesty International has said that eight people – six men, one woman, and one child – were dead in the protests in Iran due to the intervention of the military forces.  

(With inputs from agencies)