Dozens of people reported dead in protests that have rocked Iran for the past six days over the death of Mahsa Amini after she was arrested for improperly wearing the veil, international news sources reported.
The death of Mahsa Amini in police custody is a new moment of truth for the Iranian regime, which fears popular revolt more than intimidation from the rest of the world.
Four days after Amini was murdered in a Tehran hospital, there is no sign of a slowdown in the protests in the Iranian capital. Although mostly peaceful, several demonstrations in the Kurdish region of Iran have turned violent.
The Iranian government blocked the internet on mobile phones almost completely, and blocked apps such as WhatsApp and Instagram in an attempt to control protests.
There are signs that a wave of widespread protests could be brewing. It would be the first since the death of another young woman, Neda Agha Soltan, in 2009, sparked days of unrest not seen since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Even today, her slow death, after being shot in the chest, remains a testament to the way Iran treats its dissidents and women. Soltan was shot by a sniper while attending an anti-government protest in June 2009, sparking a riot and exposing the fragility of one of the region's staunchest police states.
The memory of Soltan's murder has returned with the images of Amini being dragged into a morality police van last Thursday. The video has invoked the specter of a state that commits extreme violence against women and men who challenge the system.
In the more than ten years since the election, Iranian opposition has grown, with activists being dragged into the shadows of society and the state crushing all the possible signs of the Green Revolution in 2009, which emerged after the controversial 2009 presidential election.
Since the election as President of Ebrahim Raisi, control of the streets is increasingly in the hands of state henchmen called Basiji, who are responsible for the Soltan assassination and the Revolutionary Guard, which enforces the values of the Islamic Revolution. President Raisi, a hardliner with deeply conservative views, has further narrowed the scope for dissent, empowering the morality police and enforcing an uncompromising interpretation of Shia Islam in every corner of the country.
The protests began on Friday after she was arrested by the Morality Police for improperly wearing the veil and spreading across the country.