On September 13, 2022, Mahsa Amini, an Iranian Kurdish woman, was abducted by the so-called morality police in Tehran for wearing a veil that didn’t fully cover her hair. While in police custody she was beaten so badly that she went into a coma. She died on September 16. Her murder became the spark that ignited months of mass protests in Iran that challenged the stability of the Iranian regime.
After Amini’s murder, the Iranian state claimed that she had a medical condition that caused her death from heart failure – but this was a blatant lie. Other people who had been detained with Amini told that she had been beaten by police while in custody. And photos leaked online showed Amini in the hospital with blood dripping from her ear, showing she had been beaten.
Millions of people took to the streets of Iran and around the world to protest her murder. There were massive protests in the streets of major Iranian cities such as Tehran, Tabriz, and Esfahan. The movement was united around the slogan: ‘Women. Life. Freedom.’ – a slogan used by the Kurdish people in their struggle against oppression.
The protests broadened from a reaction against the brutal murder of one woman to an attack on the whole Iranian state, and the poverty, inequality, and oppression that it rules over. Oil workers in the province of Khuzestan, one of the largest oil producing regions in Iran and in the world, repeatedly went on strike against the regime. Students in universities fought against the morality police. People across the country faced horrific police violence day after day to stand against the inequality and oppression of the regime.
On the one year anniversary of her murder, millions of people around the world gathered to commemorate her life and the mass movement of the Iranian people. In Iran, the government detained Amini’s parents on the anniversary of her death, preventing them from holding a memorial at her gravesite. Despite the heavy police presence in the streets, sporadic strikes and protest broke out across the country. Around the world, people in San Francisco, London, Berlin, Istanbul, and elsewhere took to the streets in solidarity with Iranian protesters.
The struggle of the Iranian people is an inspiration for the whole world. In the face of harsh repression, millions of people have stood up against a brutal regime to fight for their freedom. The bravery of the Iranian people and their continued organizing and rebellion is something we can all learn from!