Ahead of the one year anniversary of the death of Mahsa Amini, Iranian authorities heightened their presence in cities across the country Friday in anticipation of protests. Saturday marks the anniversary of the death of Amini, a 22-year-old woman who died in custody after Iranian morality police arrested her for “improper” hijab. Her death triggered nationwide demonstrations against the morality dress codes and the subsequent crackdown by authorities.
Rights groups and individuals took to social media Friday to urge the world to bring attention to Saturday’s planned protests. Ahead of the protests, people on the ground in Iran shared video online capturing what appears to be a military tank approaching a village. Several analysts claimed that it was deployed to suppress protests in Amini’s hometown of Saqez, in the Kurdistan region of Iran. Other videos showed protestors in Zahedan, with banners reading, “Attack on Kurdistan is attack on Baluchistan.” For many communities outside of Tehran, Amini’s death is more than an abuse of women’s freedom. It’s also an example of the regime’s discrimination toward ethnic minorities.
The Hengaw Organization of Human Rights reported that multiple platoons with heavy military equipment have descended upon Saqez. According to Hengaw, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard established checkpoints around the city earlier in the week. Military tanks are also supposedly stationed in Aychi Cemetery, where Amini is buried.
Iran has taken a hardline against protestors in the year since the death of Amini. In August, Human Rights Watch reported that authorities had arrested at least a dozen activists in anticipation of the anniversary. In the aftermath of the nationwide protests, a joint report from Iran Human Rights (IHR) and Together Against the Death Penalty (ECPM) found that Iranian authorities executed 582 people in 2022, with tens of thousands more arrested. If families of killed protesters attempted to take legal action against the government, they were intimidated and abused by the authorities.