“Women, Life, Freedom!” Protect the Protest in Iran

“Please be our voice… We are standing firm in the streets. We are risking our lives on the street [protesting], please please stand up for us.”
Protester from Esfahan, Iran

Nationwide protests sparked by the death in custody of Mahsa (Zhina) Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman, are being met with a brutal and deadly crackdown.

Leaked official documents reviewed by Amnesty International outlined the Iranian authorities’ plan to systematically crush the protests at any cost. Security forces have fired live ammunition at close range, misused tear gas and water cannons, and severely beaten people.

Over fifty men, women and children have been killed and hundreds injured on the streets.  Without determined collective action by the international community, countless more face the reality of being killed, maimed, tortured, sexually assaulted or thrown behind bars solely for their participation in protests.  

On September 13, 2022, Mahsa Amini was arrested in Tehran by Iran’s so-called “morality” police for not complying with the country’s abusive, degrading and discriminatory compulsory veiling laws. Eyewitnesses reported seeing her being violently beaten in a police van. Within hours, she was taken to hospital in a coma. Three days later she died. 

Mahsa’s death sparked widespread protests across Iran. “Jin, jiyan, azadi!” was the chant soon heard on the streets of Iran by marching protestors for “women, life, freedom” and an end to patriarchal control by the state. While the protests now include broader demands for justice,  human rights in Iran, and for the regime to go, the call to “Say her name: Mahsa Amini” echoes loudly around the world.

The people of Iran are bravely defying security forces even in the face of Iranian authorities who continue to mobilize their machinery of repression to thwart any challenge to the establishment. And despite the cover of deliberate ongoing internet disruptions, reports and images of the deadly crackdown continue to reach us.

Last Saturday, hundreds of thousands of people around the world – including in cities across Canada – marched in solidarity with the protesters in Iran who are risking their lives to demand change. This global outpouring of rage and empathy must now translate into concrete actions.

What You Can Do

Sign and share the global petition calling on the United Nations to set up an independent mechanism to investigate and ensure accountability for the most serious crimes under international law in Iran.

Show your solidarity on social media. Despite the government’s disruption of the internet and forced blackouts, social media (particularly Twitter and Instagram) is vital as an alternative to state controlled media in countries like Iran. Share Amnesty’s latest press releases, social media graphics, images of local demonstrations and your personal messages of solidarity. Take a selfie or group photo holding a sign or record a video saying “Women, Life, Freedom”. Use the hashtags #MahsaAmini #مهسا_امینی (the second one is her name in Persian). Although we were initially also using hashtags that referenced “protest” such as #ProtectTheProtest or #IranProtests, please avoid those for now.

Graphics and short videos can be found in this FOLDER.

Amnesty’s recent press release and reports are listed HERE.

Attend the ongoing demonstrations across Canada.

Stay tuned! We’ll add more ideas soon.