From fighting battles to girls without veils

Tehran, October 5 (EFE) .- The protests unleashed by the death of Mahsa Amini began with large demonstrations that were suppressed by force, with which the mobilizations went to universities and now they have spread to schools with girls taking off their veils in Iran.

Added to this are gestures of defiance in the streets: women walking on public roads without a veil, without visibly protesting; drivers honking their horns non-stop or shouting out the windows against the regime at night.

Amini died on Friday, September 16, after being arrested by the so-called morality police for improperly wearing a veil, and since then the Persian country has experienced protests led by young people, and especially women, who want more freedoms.

GIRLS WITHOUT VEILS

In the last two days, a new front has opened up in the protests: schoolgirls and high school students.

“Woman, life, freedom,” shouted students at a school in the Iranian Kurdistan city of Sanandaj as they waved their veils, according to an unconfirmed video released by activists.

In the town of Karaj, Alborz province, young schoolgirls threw their veils over a female teacher.

“We don’t want the Islamic Republic” and “let the clerics be lost,” high school students shout in other videos.

In cities such as Tehran, scores of young protesters marched through the streets as car horns blared in support, according to videos showing what appeared to be Iranian streets, license plates from the country and accents from the region.

These new protests are calmer than the fierce battles of the past, but if a tragedy were to strike at one of the schools, the consequences would be unpredictable.

“The protests have become uncontrollable. Unless (authorities) want to beat and arrest schoolgirls, there’s no turning back,” Sina Tusi, an analyst at the Center for International Policy in Washington, said on Twitter.

And this is how the authorities have managed the crisis so far, with brutal repression, arrests of demonstrators, activists, journalists and members of the public who supported the protests, while pointing to “the enemy”, that is, the US and Israel, as being behind everything.

Those clashes caused 41 deaths, according to state television figures from last week, but the Oslo-based NGO Iran Human Rights put the figure at 92.

EVOLUTION

In the face of this repression, protests develop and mutate in unpredictable ways.

In the first days of the protests, there were rallies in at least 40 cities in 31 provinces of Iran that led to fierce fighting with heavy clashes with security forces using batons, tear gas and, according to the United Nations, live ammunition.

After this fire was extinguished, the mobilizations went to the universities, which started face-to-face classes last Saturday after a week before the authorities decided that the beginning of the academic year would be only “online”, despite strong restrictions on the Internet ..

Thus, major universities in Tehran and other Iranian cities saw protests this weekend that in some cases led to heavy clashes with security forces.

This was also the case at the prestigious Sharif University of Technology in Tehran, where there were heavy clashes on Sunday night with shots fired in the air and at least 36 students arrested.

“Shots are being heard around the university. The situation is dangerous, do not leave the university,” the study center’s newspaper wrote on its social networks on Sunday.

That university canceled classes the next day, but other faculties in the country took up the baton in protests against Amini, but also because of Sharif’s arrest of students.

The authorities responded to this new challenge by protecting universities with riot police, as is the case with Tehran and Amir Kabir universities located in the center of the capital.

DISOBEDIENCE

Added to all this are more everyday ways of showing anger, outrage or weariness at the state of freedoms in the Persian country.

Thus, in the streets you see women alone or in groups, walking without a ferret, without visibly protesting.

Or outright flaunt their lack of a veil: on popular Valiasr Street, two young people walked down the middle of the road without veils and waved colorful balloons in a festive fashion on a recent afternoon.

In the early morning in Tehran’s heavy traffic, many drivers honk their horns non-stop, something that is repeated in the afternoon, at the end of the working day.

The drivers also play the song “Za”, which became the anthem of the mobilizations and brought its author Shervin Hajipour to prison, from which he was released on bail yesterday.

This song also plays from some windows at night when neighbors shout “Death to the dictator” in reference to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei under the cover of darkness.

Jaime Leon

c) EFE Agency

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