Iran’s Internet Shutdown Hides a Deadly Crackdown
In the Iranian city of Shahrud, surrounded by hundreds of protesters, two women climb onto a platform and defiantly wave their hijabs above their heads in an act of public defiance. The scene, caught on video, is posted online by the 1500tasvir Instagram account. In recent days, the account has published dozens of videos from Iranian towns and cities as thousands of people protest the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who died in police custody after being arrested by Iran’s “morality police.”
In another video shared by 1500tasvir, women burn their headscarves while chanting for freedom. Protesters are shown confronting police officers in another. And other videos claim to show people bleeding, injured, or dead, following brutal clashes with police officers as protests have spread to more than 80 cities across Iran. “They stood against the police, who are armed, and they [protesters] just shout at them,” says one person behind the 1500tasvir Instagram account, whom WIRED is not naming to protect their safety.
The 1500tasvir account was set up in 2019 following widespread protests in which hundreds of people were killed by police. During those protests, Iranian officials totally shut down the internet, stopping people from organizing protests and limiting the information flowing in and out of Iran. Now history is repeating itself. But this time, more people are watching.
As thousands of people have taken to the streets to protest the death of Amini this week, Iranian officials have repeatedly shut down mobile internet connections and disrupted the services of Instagram and WhatsApp, two of the most popular social media services in the country. The internet shutdowns are the largest since November 2019 and raise fears about further atrocities. So far, more than 30 people have reportedly been killed, while the Iranian government has admitted to 17 deaths.
“Shutting down mobile internet service has become a go-to for the Iranian government when dealing with civil unrest,” says Doug Madory, director of internet analysis at monitoring firm Kentik, who has been following the shutdowns. “People were using these services to share videos of the protests and the government’s crackdown, so they became targets of government censorship.”
via Wired https://www.wired.com
September 23, 2022 at 08:49AM