In Iran, state TV is hacked as anti-power protests enter their fourth week

Anti-government protests and rallies in Iran have entered their fourth week, with further protests reported on Saturday, October 8 and Sunday, October 9 at various universities in Tehran and Kurdish-majority areas in the north of the country, where Mahsa Amini was originally from.

The death of this 22-year-old girl on September 16 after her arrest by the morality police for wearing an illegal veil was the spark that ignited the protest. Since then, daily demonstrations in almost every province in the country, against religious dress regulations and more broadly against the theocratic regime, have been severely repressed.

Screenshot of the hacking of the Iranian state TV channel, Saturday, October 8, 2022, spread on Twitter by the group Edalat-e Ali (“Justice of Ali”).
Screenshot of the hacking of the Iranian state TV channel, Saturday, October 8, 2022, spread on Twitter by the group Edalat-e Ali (“Justice of Ali”).

The state TV channel was also briefly hacked on Saturday, during the broadcast of a speech by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. A photograph of the Ayatollah surrounded by flames appeared for about fifteen minutes with the phrases “Join us and get up”, “The blood of our youth flows from your claws” as well as a song with the slogan of the Iranian youth uprising, “Woman, life, freedom”.

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Protests broke out at Sharif and Azad universities on Saturday, as well as in several neighborhoods and in Tehran’s bazaar, according to the Associated Press. The Sharif campus, Iran’s top scientific university, has been closed since violent incidents between students and police last weekend.

A video of the demonstrations in Tehran on October 8, released by a journalist from the Spot.

“Police forces used tear gas to disperse crowds in dozens of places in Tehran”confirmed the official IRNA agency, without further details, but added that the protesters “spelled slogans and set fire to and damaged public property, including a police station and garbage cans”. A member of the paramilitary militia bassidji he was murdered on saturday “after being seriously injured in the head following an armed attack by a mob”, reports IRNA.

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“We are all waiting for something to happen, like a time bomb”

The Iranian province of Kurdistan, where Mahsa Amini was from, has remained one of the epicenters of the demonstrations for four weeks. According to the Kurdistan Human Rights Networka France-based NGO, demonstrations were held in the capital Sanandaj and in the cities of Javanrud, Kamyaran, Bukan and Mahabad on Saturday, in which two people were killed and 57 others arrested.

Sharo, a 35-year-old academic interviewed by the Associated Press, describes a situation “tense and volatile” in Sanandaj. “We are all waiting for something to happen, like a time bomb”, he told the news agency by Telegram, reporting a strong police presence and a general strike that partially blocks the city. The official IRNA agency announced the death of a member of the Revolutionary Guard, the ideological army of the Iranian theocracy, in the streets of the city.

According to Iran Human Rights (IHR), an Oslo-based NGO, at least ninety-two protesters have been killed and hundreds more have been arrested since September 16. The last report given by the Iranian official media dates back to September 27, with a report “about sixty” deaths As for the police, members of the Revolutionary Guard or the militia of the bassidji, the death toll reaches fourteen, according to Tehran. The Iranian state has also imposed severe restrictions on Internet access to control what it calls “unrest”including Instagram and WhatsApp blocks as well as VPN monitoring.

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Iranian president calls on students to be “vigilant”

As the protest continued at some universities in Tehran, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi was Al-Zahra, Iran’s first all-female university, to deny any involvement of security forces in Mahsa Amini’s death. According to a statement from the Iranian presidency, he told the students:

“The enemy thought that he could achieve his goals in the universities, ignoring that our students and professors are vigilant and will not allow the false dreams of the enemy to come true. »

According to a medical report released on 7 October by the Iranian authorities, Mahsa Amini’s death in custody was related to brain disease and was not caused by beatings. Shortly after her death, her father assured the FARS agency that her daughter was “In perfect health”.

Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei came out of silence on October 3 to say that according to him, “These riots and insecurity are the work of the United States, of the Zionist regime [Israël, selon le langage officiel de Téhéran], of their mercenaries and some Iranian traitors who helped them from abroad.”

Le Monde with AP and AFP

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