For the past few weeks, Iran has been rocked by protests over the death in police custody of a twenty-two-year-old Kurdish woman, Mahsi Amini, who was arrested by the infamous Morality Police for wearing her hijab incorrectly. Apparently a few strands of hair were showing, and she was beaten to death for defying the strict law about head covering.

Since then, women and men have joined to protest the harsh “morality” laws that govern women’s dress and hair covering. Led by women, the protests have featured women tearing off their hijabs and throwing them in bonfires. And women cutting their hair. In some demonstrations, young people have ripped down posters of the Ayatollah Homeini, the leader of the revolution that overthrew the secular Shah and created the strictly religious Islamic Republic of Iran.

The New York Times posted dramatic videos of the protests. They are amazing. You will see young women taking off their hijabs, twirling them in the air, then throwing them into the flames, as hundreds of other young people cheer.

The Times wrote:

Protests erupted in more than 80 cities across Iran following the death of Mahsa Amini, known by her first Kurdish surname Jina, after her detention by the morality police under the so-called hijab law. Footage of the demonstrations posted to social media has become one of the primary windows into what is happening on the ground and revealed what is different about this latest show of resistance inside Iran.

The New York Times analyzed dozens of videos and spoke with experts who have followed the country’s protest movements to understand what insights the often blurry, pixelated footage contains about what is propelling the demonstrations.

Attacking Symbols of the State

Now in their third week, protests have continued even as dozens of people have been killed. Many of the videos appeared on social media during the first week of the protests, before Iran’s government began limiting internet access in an effort to silence dissent.

The Washington Post wrote:

Iran’s bold and bracing protests, stretching across an unsettled nation for more than two weeks, have been marked by defiant acts and daring slogans that challenge the country’s clerical leadership and its stifling restrictions on all aspects of social life.
Government security forces have responded with deadly, uncompromising force. At least 52 people have been killed, according to Amnesty International, including women and children.
The ongoing protests began in response to the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old woman who fell into a coma after being detained by the country’s hated “morality police.”

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, claimed Monday that the unrest had been instigated by foreign powers and blamed protesters for the violence: “The ones who attack the police are leaving Iranian citizens defenseless against thugs, robbers and extortionists,” he said.
Khamenei gave his full backing to the security forces, signaling a further wave of repression could be coming.

To understand the extent of the government’s crackdown against protesters, The Washington Post analyzed hundreds of videos and photographs of protests, spoke to human rights activists, interviewed protesters and reviewed data collected by internet monitoring groups. The Post geolocated videos of protests in at least 22 cities — from the Kurdistan region, where the protests began, to Bandar Abbas, a port city on the Persian Gulf, to Rasht on the Caspian coast.