A hundred days after they began, the longest running anti-government protests in Iran since the 1979 Islamic revolution have shaken the regime, but at a heavy cost to the people.
More than 500 protesters, including 69 children, have been killed, according to the Human Rights Activists’ News Agency (HRANA). Two protesters have been executed and at least 26 others face the same fate, after what Amnesty International calls “sham trials”.
Although nationwide demonstrations have swept Iran before – once in 2017 lasting until early 2018, and another in November 2019 – the current protests are unique, as they involve people from across society and women are taking a lead role under the slogan “Woman, Life, Freedom”.
Some Iranian celebrities have taken irrevocable steps to support protests, leading to their arrest or exile.
Taraneh Alidoosti, a well-known Iranian actress, is being held in the notorious Evin prison after she condemned the execution of a young protester. Previously, she published a photo of herself without a mandatory headscarf, holding a sign with the protesters’ slogan.
Ali Karimi, one of Iran’s most celebrated former footballers, who was living in Dubai, also supported the protests. He said Iranian intelligence agents threatened to kill him, eventually leading him to move to the US.
Karimi is now one of the most outspoken critics of the Iranian regime on his Instagram account, with more than 14 million followers.
Another Iranian football icon, Ali Daei, had his jewellery shop and restaurant shut down by the Iranian judiciary after coming out in support of a nationwide strike.
What also marks the current protests out from previous ones is the emerging use by demonstrators of Molotov cocktails.
These have been used against bases of the Basij militia and Hawza, or religious schools for Shia Muslim clerics.
Iran’s Generation Z has been at the forefront of these protests, defying strict religious rule and setting new trends such as burning headscarves.
Another new trend among young protesters is so-called “turban tossing” – sneaking up behind Shia Muslim clerics, knocking their turban off and running away.
Iranian authorities have not only cracked down on protesters, but have also used the bodies of those who have died in custody or been killed as bargaining chips to silence the families of victims.
Read more via BBC