Wrapped Up in Unrest

Protests in Iran sparked by the death of a 22-year-old woman


There are protests still going strong in Iran. After the death of Iranian woman, Mahsa Amini, civil unrest was sparked across the Islamic Republic. – Made in Canva

“They need to listen. It’s just a shame that peaceful protesting just won’t work. People shouldn’t be dying for rights.””

— Joseph Kyle

Protests have been raging in 30 of the 31 provinces of Iran for the last three weeks following the death of Mahsa Amini, reportedly at the hands of morality police while she was in their custody.

Amini was reportedly arrested on Sept. 13 for not wearing her mandatory hijab, a face covering on top of the normal head convering, by “morality police” which is a commonly used name for the Islamic Religous Police or Guidance Patrol. According to Amini’s brother, it was two hours between her arrest and her being taken to the hospital during which time she is suspected to have been beaten while under police custody. Jayden Whitmire (12) feels that Amini being beaten while in police custody is something that should have been forbidden.

“I don’t think that’s okay,” Whitemire said. “It shouldn’t have happened.”

After spending three days in the ICU under police custody, Amini succumbed to her injuries on Sept. 16. The hospital report would later conclude that Amini’s injuries lined up with a beating although the Iranian government reported that Amini died from a heart attack. Joseph Kyle (9) feels that the circumstances around Amini’s death are strange.

“I think it’s kind of suspicous and they should definitely take better care of their prisoners,” Kyle said.

Following Amini’s death on the 16, the story spread through the hashtag (#Masha_Amini). This story resonated with many citizens as the mandatory hijab is seen as a symbol of repression in the Islamic Republic. This sparked women protesting by removing their hijabs with some burning them and even cutting their hair, which is considered a sacred symbol of beauty in Islam. They are doing this to protest their government, but not the religion itself. Katie Thompson (10)  feels that the women of Iran should be able to protest the policing without it looking like they are protesting their religion.

“I feel like the policing needs more protesting than the religion because that’s their religion,” Thompson said. “But, the policing, they need to control that because a lot of people have died.”

Not just women but Iranian members of Generation Z are attempting to bypass their censored internet to spread their message to the world. On top of ending morality policing, some Iranian citizens seem to want to change their whole government system. Based on some of the anti-government chants and statements made by Iranian citizens while they protest, they no longer want an Islamic Republic ruled country. Lilyanne Marckwardt (10) understands why the Iranians are interested in a change of government structure.

“I feel like if the American government started policing people over how they worshipped certain religions and stuff like that, either way it’s just gonna end badly,” Marckwardt said. “People have already been killed because of this.”

Local officials are reporting that there have been as many as 1,500 arrests made in the last three weeks with the police arresting artists and journalists as well as protesters. Many of the stories from arrested protesters also include violence enacted on them or threats of violence such as sexual assault.

“I don’t think it’s right…,” Whitemire said. “That’s just not right.”

Protests have met much government resistance and crackdown as Iranian forces have added tear gas, metal pellets, and even live rounds into their repetoire. The Islamic Republic News Agency puts the death toll of the protests as high as 41 while some human right’s groups, including Amnesty International, are reporting a toll as high as 52. 

“They need to listen,” Kyle said. “It’s just a shame that peaceful protesting just won’t work. People shouldn’t be dying for rights.”