Mahsa Amini death: Iran restricts internet as protest deaths mount


Iranian authorities say they will restrict internet access in the country until calm is restored to the streets, as protests over the death of a young woman in the custody of the morality police rock the Islamic Republic.

Thousands of Iranians have taken to the streets in protest since the death last week of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was apprehended in Tehran and taken to a “re-education center,” apparently for not wearing her hijab properly.

Since Friday, demonstrations have taken place in at least 40 cities nationwide, including the capital Tehran, with protesters demanding an end to violence and discrimination against women as well as an end to compulsory wearing of the hijab.

Dozens of protesters have reportedly been killed in the resulting clashes with security forces.

CNN cannot independently verify the death toll –  a precise figure is impossible for anyone outside the Iranian government to confirm – and different estimates have been given by opposition groups, international rights organizations and local journalists. Amnesty International said Friday that at least 30 people, including four children, had died; according to state media the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, 35 people have died.

People light a fire during a protest over the death of Mahsa Amini in Tehran on September 21, 2022.

Authorities hope that by restricting the internet they can control the protests – the latest in a wave that has swept Iran in recent years. They started with the Green movement in 2009 over contested election results and more recently the 2019 protests sparked by a rise in fuel prices. Hundreds were believed to have been killed in the violent crackdown three years ago and thousands injured, according to estimates released by the UN and rights groups.

But this year’s protests are different – in their scope, scale and unprecedented feminist nature. There is also mobilization across the socio-economic divide. A young generation of Iranians are rising up on the streets against decades of repression – arguably bolder than ever.