Iranian authorities said 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 rocked the Islamic Republic, media reported.
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 centre’, 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, CNN reported.
Dozens of protesters have reportedly been killed in the resulting clashes with security forces.
Amnesty International said on Friday that at least 30 people, including four children, had died. According to state media the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), 35 people have died.
Authorities hope that by restricting the Internet, they can bring the protests under control, CNN reported.
Speaking to state broadcaster IRIB on Friday, Iran’s Minister of Communications Ahmad Vahidi said, “Until the riots end, the Internet will have limitations. To prevent riot organization through social media, we are obliged to create Internet limitations.”
Vahidi’s comments came after videos on social media showed scenes of public defiance, with women removing and burning their headscarves and demonstrators chanting such slogans as, “women, life, freedom.”
The move to further restrict the Internet also followed a call by the United Nations for an independent investigation into Amini’s death and for Iran’s security forces to refrain from using ‘disproportionate force’ on the protesters.
Amini’s death has now become a symbol of the violent oppression women have faced in Iran for decades, and her name has spread around the globe, with world leaders invoking her even at the United Nations General Assembly in New York City this week, CNN reported.