Iran protests: Teen’s bravery offers glimmer of hope as violent crackdown and internet restrictions continue | World News


In her sunny yellow coat, a 17-year-old girl climbed atop a car and threw her hands in the air – fingers spread to reveal a V of victory – and the crowd erupted in loud cheers.

He had just been released from the clutches of Sonia Sharifi Iranian arrest

It is the fourth month of protests in Iran and the levels of violence and intimidation faced by those calling for a revolution are the highest since the movement began.

The risks are high for those involved, with some protesters now leaving their phones at home to minimize the brutality they face if arrested.

As such, less video evidence of protests seems to be emerging from the country in recent weeks.

Despite the danger, video verified by Sky News shows the moment Sonia’s family, friends and neighbors gathered in the streets of Abdanango to celebrate her return home after she was released on bail. It is vague to keep their identity safe.

Some people were overwhelmed with happiness and spontaneously started dancing in the street.

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The Kurdistan Human Rights Network reports that in November this teenage girl was dragged from her grandmother’s house, beaten and forced to make a false confession, admitting to making Molotov cocktails and writing dangerous slogans.

Prominent Iranian Revolutionary Guards have sent messages on an encrypted messaging app controlled by Sky News, accusing “hostile media” of “lying” about the details of his arrest. They provided no evidence for their claims.

Sonia’s defiant stance, apparently beaten without fear of the authorities who arrested her, quickly spread on social media in mid-December.

The image of his brave stance was taken by many Iranians online as a symbol of hope in the state’s era. two demonstrators were executed and more than 500 demonstrators lost their lives.

According to the Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), about 70 of the dead were children. The group’s data published on December 19 also reported that almost 20,000 people had been arrested.

Despite the crackdown, the authorities have not been able to shut down the protest movement that has been spreading across the country for the past three months.

Sky News has mapped the location of every protest of 12 or more people since September 16, using data from the Critical Threats Project (CTP) at the American Enterprise Institute, with support from the Institute for the Study of War.

Dots are lighter or darker red based on a conservative estimate of the number of people in attendance, and gray dots represent protests where the size of the crowd cannot be determined. CTP says their data set is “possibly incomplete” given the difficulty of accessing information on the ground in Iran.

It is possible to see the first rise of the demonstrations that started after his death Mahsa Jina AminiShe was killed while in custody for wearing the hijab (head covering) “inappropriately”.

Read more:
Mass protests and attacks on government buildings – online evidence shows what is happening in Iran

It began mostly as a women’s rights movement, but other voices quickly joined the call for revolution. Issues such as freedom, democracy and economic stability have fueled the determination of this army of ordinary people.

The animation shows how the protests have spread, but the Kurdish province and the capital Tehran have consistently been hotbeds of the movement.

Most of the protests have been between 12 and 1,000 people, and the CTP has registered around a dozen because more than 1,000 people went to a single demonstration.

Ali Ansari, professor of Iranian history and director of the Institute of Iranian Studies at the University of St Andrews, told Sky News: “Now we have strikes and different kinds of protests happening. The main thing to consider is that the government. It’s difficult to suppress them.”

He added that the execution of two protesters “has only made the protesters more determined”.

“Demonstrators leave their phones at home to be safe”

Videos and images taken by people on their cellphones have been one of the main sources of information coming out of Iran, and the country’s independent media and foreign media have been effectively suppressed.

But now, that vital line of information is in jeopardy, as the fallout from being found with images of the protest is becoming overwhelming for some.

“People are being attacked for filming. They are harassed more when they are arrested if they are found with images of the protests,” explained Mahsa Alimardani, a researcher at the information rights group Article 19 and a researcher at the Oxford Internet Institute. His work focuses on access to online information in Iran.

“People who go out now often don’t go out with their phones to avoid that risk.”

Ms. Alimardani says people are now more cautious after seeing how others have been apprehended and criminalized, while others have been beaten or shot for holding their phones during protests.

This and to follow Strict restrictions on Internet access it means Iranians face many challenges when trying to convey evidence of the scale of the protests and the brutality of the repression to the international community.

Authorities have tried hard to limit the Iranian people’s ability to access the Internet, with Internet monitors such as Netblocks and the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Internet Outage Detection and Analysis (IODA) project reporting repeated outages.

For example, after the execution of Majidreza Rahnavard on December 11, internet access dropped across the country, as highlighted by the red line in the graph of this tweet.

Authorities are able to target specific areas of the country, as they appeared to have done on December 8, when Internet access went down for seven hours in the city of Sanandaj in the Kurdish region of the country.

“What we’re really seeing is the tip of the iceberg. It’s the things that are able to fall through the cracks of all these difficulties to get online and document,” says Ms. Alimardani.

For those willing to take the risk, the footage coming out of Iran in recent weeks has changed. Ms. Alimardani has seen people take more steps than before to hide people’s identities while filming, such as focusing on arms or legs and avoiding faces altogether, or filming in low light.

Image showing violent clashes and aggressive behavior of the security forces it has been much more prevalent than in September and October. They are also sharing evidence of injuries, including people who have been shot.

“We are still seeing a lot of protests, all over Iran, from large crowds to balcony and rooftop chanting,” he explained.

“But content that talks about the crimes and killings of the Islamic Republic is also out there and being documented by users. The tragedy is that this content is increasing as the regime adopts more violent or even genocidal strategies to stop the protests.”

As the footage coming out of Iran grows bloodier and the protesters show little sign of letting up, what’s next for the movement?

“It’s probably too early to define this as a ‘revolution,'” Mr. Ansari explained, “but people see the movement as revolutionary.

“The direction of travel is clear.”


The Data and forensics the team is a multi-skilled unit for delivering transparent journalism at Sky News. We collect, analyze and visualize data to tell data-driven stories. We combine traditional reporting skills with advanced analysis of satellite imagery, social media and other open source information. We aim to explain the world better through multimedia storytelling, also showing how our journalism is done.

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