In search of freedom: Girls lead in Iran's biggest protests since 2009

Iran is experiencing its biggest wave of demonstrations since the so-called Iranian Green Movement, which contested the result of the presidential election in 2009, in which Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was reelected.

This year’s protests are motivated by the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old girl from the Kurdish city of Saqez who died three weeks ago in Tehran after being arrested and beaten by police for “inappropriate use ” of the hijab, the Islamic veil.

In the repression of the demonstrations, at least 154 people have already been killed by the security forces, according to the NGO Iran Human Rights, based in Norway.

As the motivating fact for this indignation is the violence against the lives and freedom of women, the protests have a large presence of teenagers who seek an end to the repression against the female population of Iran.

The slogan “Women, life, freedom” has been chanted by young Iranian women, and many are taking off their veils and setting them on fire, a scene unthinkable for some. ago, and cutting or shaving their hair (an act that has been repeated by women in solidarity protests around the world).

Videos and photos that go viral on the internet also help to expose this outrage. Two images have been shared thousands of times in recent days.

One photo shows a group of unveiled students at an Iranian girls’ school showing the middle finger to a board with images of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei of Iran, and Ayatollah Khomeini, his predecessor.

In addition, a video showed the reaction of students to a member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, sent to speak at a girls’ school: the girls ripped off their veils and prevented him from speaking, with shouts and slogans. In some places, the students’ protests have led to the suspension of classes.

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In a country where the repression of women and divergent opinions is often fatal, the courage of these young women makes it clear that indignation has reached a point where changes may become mandatory for the regime’s survival.

“A few nights ago, I saw two teenagers near my house who were going to one of the protests,” an Iranian journalist told American magazine Time, on condition of anonymity.

“One told the other that the mother did not want her to leave the house because she feared for her daughter’s life. ‘What difference does it make, mother? The way things are today, I don’t feel like I’m living anyway’, the girl replied.”

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