Throughout the past decade, the year 2022 emerged as one of the most protest-laden years in Iran. In almost every month, the country witnessed people from diverse backgrounds, including women, teachers, schoolchildren, university students, and pensioners, taking to the streets to voice their discontent.
Among the most significant of these protests were the “Woman, Life, Freedom” demonstrations. These protests were ignited by the tragic death of Jina (Mahsa) Amini at the hands of Iran’s “Morality Police” and persisted for a duration of at least nine months. The uprising had its genesis on September 16th, when protesters assembled outside the Tehran hospital where Jina (Mahsa) Amini had lost her life. It continued, unabated, into February of the following year.
Analysts and activists christened this uprising with various names, including the “Jina Revolution,” the “Jina Uprising,” the “Mahsa Movement,” and the “Woman, Life, Freedom” uprising, among others. According to reports from human rights organizations, over 500 citizens, including 72 children, lost their lives during these protests. This report delves into the events of the first two weeks of the protests, highlighting the significant occurrences during this period.
September 13th, 2022
Jina (Mahsa) Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish woman from Saqqez, was in Tehran with her family following their trip to northern Iran. She was apprehended by the Morality Police in front of the Haqqani subway station due to what Iranian authorities deemed as an “improper hijab.” Subsequently, she was taken to the Vozara police headquarters.
“My Jina, a few minutes before disembarking from the subway. My daughter, my life, of whom I was so proud. Oh, God.”
Just two hours later on the same day, Jina (Mahsa) Amini was secretly transferred to Kasra Hospital, located in Argentine Square in Tehran, while she remained in a semi-conscious state.
Ashkan Amini, Jina’s brother, recounted the events to Zamaneh. He explained that when his sister was initially arrested, a heated dispute arose between them and the Morality Police officers. The officers informed them that Jina would be taken to the Vozara custody center, where she would be released following her attendance at a one-hour reorientation course and her provision of a formal undertaking.
An eyewitness, another girl who was also arrested by the Morality Police on the same day and was in the car with Jina, provided an account to Zamaneh. She described how, during the journey to the custody centre, a heated argument erupted between the detained girls and the police officers. Jina was one of those who vehemently protested her arrest:
“During these arguments, the officers resorted to physical violence in an attempt to silence all of us. Ms. Amini was subjected to beatings as well, but she remained conscious when we eventually reached the custody centre, although she appeared physically very lethargic.”
Kurdpa News Agency released a video of Jina at Kasra Hospital, where her level of consciousness had significantly decreased, and she seemed to be in a coma.
September 14th, 2022
Numerous photographs were released depicting Jina (Mahsa) Amini lying on a bed in the intensive care unit. She remained unconscious, and visible bruises marred her head and the area around her ears.
September 15th, 2022
News of Jina’s death began to circulate on social media. However, her family later confirmed that their daughter was still alive and under observation in the intensive care unit.
September 16th, 2022
Jina (Mahsa) Amini tragically passed away at Kasra Hospital at 9:00 am. Her cause of death was a skull fracture and cerebral haemorrhage.
Hospital reports, published through reliable sources, indicated that Jina Amini had been brain dead from the very beginning due to the injuries to her head. Her body was taken to the Forensics on the same day.
Niloofar Hamedi, a journalist from Sharq newspaper currently incarcerated, shared a photograph of Mozhgan Eftekhari and Amjad Amini, the parents of Jina (Mahsa), embracing and weeping in a hallway at Kasra Hospital upon learning of their daughter’s passing. A collective of Iranian photographers has selected this image, titled “Lonely Tears of Jina (Mahsa)’s Parents,” as the best photograph of 2022.
After news of Jina (Mahsa) Amini’s death was widely published in the media and on social networks around the world, people gathered in front of Kasra Hospital. Security forces attempted to disperse the protesters by using tear gas and physical force. During the protest, a girl removed her hijab as a form of protest against Jina’s murder.
Despite the fact that Jina (Mahsa) Amini had died due to the beatings by the police, on the same day, another woman was violently arrested by the police in front of Kasra Hospital. The security forces were unable to disperse the crowd, and the protests continued until late evening near Argentine Square and Kasra Hospital.
Jina’s body was initially supposed to be transferred to Saqqez for burial on the same night. Security forces later announced that her body would be taken to Sanandaj by airplane and then transferred to Saqqez. However, in an attempt to mislead people and prevent a large crowd from gathering at the funeral, her body was first sent to Tabriz and then to Saqqez.
September 17th, 2022
Jina’s body arrived in Saqqez at 5:00 am. The security forces intended to proceed with the burial immediately, but a crowd had already gathered at Aychi cemetery and did not allow the burial to take place.
Jina (Mahsa) Amini’s parents were also opposed to her being buried at 5:00 am without anyone present.
Aychi cemetery is located in a village also named Aychi on the road from Saqqez to Baneh, 8 kilometers away from Saqqez.
By 6:00 am, more people had gathered at the cemetery, and they wouldn’t allow Jina’s body to be taken out of the hearse before the time her family had announced for the burial.
As the sun rose higher, the cemetery saw an increasing number of people in attendance, and internet access was cut off in Saqqez.
At last, Jina’s body was buried at around 10:00 in the morning, with a great number of people from Saqqez at her graveside.
The picture below shows Mozhgan Eftekhari, Jina’s mother, with her daughter who has just been laid in the ground. She is hugging her beloved daughter one last time.
From the very moment of the burial, people raised slogans in support of women’s rights, followed by other slogans in opposition to the Islamic Republic. The crowd sang and clapped.
Several women’s rights activists gave speeches at Jina’s graveside, including Leila Enayatzade, who said during her speech:
“The Morality Police has to go, and this can only be realized through the collective efforts of both men and women working together.”
Around the same time, a video was released showing Jina’s aunt weeping at her graveside as she said:
“Jina is a martyr… she showed us the way to freedom. I swear to god, she was all covered up when she left my house. Her abaya was long, going all the way down to here (she points to her own ankles) … my own children don’t wear such long abayas… They destroyed our flower.”
Shortly after, a picture of Jina’s resting place was published. On a stone above her grave, a sentence read: “Jina, dear, you won’t die. Your name will be our code.”
According to Elaheh Mohammadi, a journalist for Hammihan Newspaper who was also present at Jina’s graveside that day, Jina’s grandfather recited a poem called “Tehran doesn’t smile to anyone” by Shirkoo Bikas, the famous Kurd poet as he wept. Afterwards, Jina’s father asked those present for help, lest they should get into trouble, to which the people replied: “Have no fear… Have no fear.”
Mozhgan Eftekhari kept repeating, grief-stricken and aghast: “Jina, dear, get up. Everybody is here to see you.”
At Jina’s funeral, women took off their headscarves, and as they twirled them in the air, they shouted “Woman, Life, Freedom” for the first time. Later, this slogan became the slogan of the 2022 uprising.
After the burial, people left Aychi cemetery for the city.
In the video below, sent exclusively to Zamaneh, thousands of people can be seen attending Jina’s burial service.
On their way back, people stopped in front of the governor’s office and started protesting and chanting anti-regime slogans.
The security forces, who were already stationed at the place, reacted quickly by firing tear gas and rubber bullets at the protesters.
To the best of Zamaneh’s knowledge, at least 11 people were injured during the shootings.
Three protesters, Nechirvan Maroufi, 18 and from Saqqez, Mohammad Parsa Sehat, and Kian Derakhshan were injured in the eye area. Nechirvan Maroufi lost one of his eyes.
After the burial service, protests continued in the main areas of Saqqez, including Enghelab boulevard, Qods square and Jomhouri street. Protests and clashes continued until the evening in Saqqez. Afterward, protests spread to Sanandaj, the capital of Kurdistan Province. Demonstrators took to the main streets of Sanandaj, such as Ferdowsi street, Azadi square (Iqbal Square), Enghelab square, Pasdaran street (Sixth of Bahman), Hasanabad street, and some other major thoroughfares in the city to voice their grievances.
In Sanandaj, protesters chanted: “Saqqez is not alone, Sanandaj supports it.”
Security forces in Sanandaj swiftly moved to disperse the protesters, using tear gas. Sanandaji women staged a sit-in on Ferdowsi street as a sign of protest against the police actions.
The protests in Sanandaj continued into the night, with people chanting slogans and blocking streets by setting fires.
Since the day of Jina’s burial ceremony, the hashtag #Mahsa_Amini has been widely used by social media users, especially on Twitter (X), and it became the top trending topic. This hashtag held the top trending position on Twitter for at least two months, surpassing the previous record for the highest global usage of a hashtag for the first time.
As of November 2nd, 2022, on Twitter (X), the hashtag #Mahsa_Amini was used more than 300 million times.
On the same day, independent Iranian labor unions, the Coordinating Council of Educators’ Associations, The Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company (SWTSBC), The Iranian Writers Association and several other civil and labor organizations in Iran issued separate statements strongly condemning the government’s killing of Jina (Mahsa) Amini.
September 18th, 2022
In various cities across the provinces of Kurdistan and Kermanshah, calls for a general strike and rallies on Tuesday, September 19, were disseminated. The Cooperation Center of Iranian Kurdistan’s Political Parties also issued a statement inviting people to participate in a general strike. Students at Sharif and Amir Kabir universities in Tehran also called for a protest gathering on their respective campuses on Tuesday, September 19th. A group of students from the University of Tehran gathered in protest of the killing of Jina (Mahsa) Amini in the university campus and sang the chant “Join us, friend”. The protesting students held signs that read: “Mahsa Amini” “We don’t want to die”, “I protest” and “Jina, you didn’t die, your name becomes a code”.
Domestic media reported that President Ebrahim Raisi had a telephone conversation with the family of Mahsa Amini and promised he’d ensure that “the matter is specially investigated”. On this day, a group of women’s rights activists in Iran called on people to gather and protest against Jina’s death on Tuesday, September 19th.
As an act of defiance and a symbolic gesture of mourning Jina, several women cut their hair to show their anger and grief.
Soon, the campaign gathered momentum and many women cut their hair in front of the camera.
Anahita Hemmati, Iranian Actress, took off her headscarf and posted a video captioned “For Iran’s Jina” scattering her cut hair on the floor.
On this day, international reactions to Mahsa Amini’s death intensified, with condemnation coming from actors, politicians, and writers, among others, all denouncing her murder. Outside the country, calls were issued by the Iranian diaspora in different countries to gather in support of the protests inside Iran.
In the evening of Sunday, September 17th, Sanandaj and Karaj witnessed further protests against Jina (Mahsa) Amini’s murder.
September 19th, 2022
In reaction to Jina (Mahsa) Amini’s death, in most of the Kurdish cities in the four provinces of Kurdistan, Kermanshah, large parts of West Azerbaijan, and Ilam tradespeople and shopkeepers went on strike.
The following video shows the massive strike in Bukan on September 19th, 2022.
The cities of Diwandareh, Dehgan, Saqqez and Sanandaj also witnessed large protests and the security forces shot at the protesters. As a result of these shootings, Fouad Ghadimi in Diwandareh, Fereydoun Mahmoudi in Saqqez, and Mohsen Mohammadi and Reza Lotfi in Dehgolan were killed.
Massive protests and clashes between protesters and security forces in Diwandareh – September 19th, 2022
Protestors chanting “Woman, Life, Freedom” in Sanandaj, September 19th, 2022
Students in Polytechnic, Amir Kabir, Allameh Tabatabai, Honar, Tarbiat Modarres, Beheshti, Tehran and Isfahan universities also held protest rallies and chanted slogans such as “I will kill, I will kill whoever killed my sister” and “Killing for a scarf, how long are we going to tolerate this?”
Tehran University. Students chanting “I will kill; I will kill whoever killed my sister”
In Amir Kabir University in Tehran, Basiji forces attacked protesting students.
Through a joint statement, 14 university student associations in Iran called for the “dissolution of the Guidance Patrol and Morality Police as one of the most important suppression institutions since the revolution.”
On this day, protests spread from cities in Kurdistan and universities to other cities, including Tehran, Ilam, Tabriz, Isfahan, and Mashhad.
An image of heavily armed security forces lining up against protesters in Tehran was also released on the same day and quickly gained widespread attention on social media.
On the same day, a similar image was also published from Mahabad, showing a large number of special forces attempting to prevent the formation of protests.
Another video of a female protester standing in front of a riot police water cannon vehicle gained widespread attention on social media and in the news.
Independent political activists in Paris and Iranians in Berlin and Toronto also held solidarity rallies in support of the protests inside the country.
More than 200 faculty members from universities and research institutes across the country issued a statement condemning the killing of Mahsa Amini.
Protests continued in many cities until the evening on this day.
The detainees at the women’s ward of Evin prison held a memorial service for Mahsa Amini. Alieh Motallebzadeh, a photographer and journalist who was imprisoned at the time, wrote in a letter:
“Mahsa was not neither the first nor the last victim. What had she done wrong really?”
September 20th, 2022
In an interview with Nazila Maroufian which was published on Rouydad24, Amjad Amini, Jina (Mahsa) Amini’s father asked for the killer of his daughter to be tried in an open court. The interview was later taken down form Rouydad24’s website and the interviewer, Nazila Maroufian, was arrested and imprisoned for publishing the interview.
Nada Al-Nashif, the UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, expressed concern about compulsory hijab laws in Iran and called for an independent investigation into the death of Mahsa Amini.
Nika Shakarami (Tehran), Minoo Majidi (Kermanshah), Farjad Darvishi (Orumiyeh), Zakariya Khial (Piranshahr) and several other citizens were killed on this day.
Warning! The video bellow contains images of the moment Minoo Majidi is killed in Kermanshah by a rubber bullet fired by security forces. Some viewers might find the content distressing.
The video below shows Nika Shakarami, a 16-year-old teenager, just hours before she was killed, setting fire to a headscarf in protest. According to the family and close associates of Nika Shakarami, she was abducted, tortured, and then killed by security forces.
Mohsen Mansouri, the Governor of Tehran, claimed on Twitter that “some embassies had a role in the protests”.
In many cities, female protesters set headscarves on fire as a sign of protest.
Even though four days had passed since Jina was killed, protests were still held at universities, including Iran University of Science and Technology (IUST), Yazd University, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Kharazmi University in Karaj, and University of Tehran, along with several others.
Students at Tabriz University of Medical Sciences chanted: “Poverty, corruption, oppression! Shame on this tyranny!”
Protests continued in cities including Tehran, Mashhad, Ilam, Hamedan, Kerman, Tabriz, Kermanshah, Qom, Rasht, Sabzevar, Shiraz, Arak, Kish, Sari, Bandar Abbas, and Maku, with demonstrators taking to the streets. In Tehran, shopkeepers joined the protesters.
Once again, internet was disrupted and shut down in cities where protests were ongoing, especially in Kurdish cities.
September 21st, 2022
Protests continued in various cities, including Sardasht, Tehran, Sanandaj, Hamedan, Zahedan, Orumiyeh, Nowshahr, Babolsar, Amol, Semnan, Rezvanshahr, Isfahan, Talesh, Karaj, Ardebil, Shirvan, Babol, Ahvaz, Esfarayen, Langeroud, Eyvan, Zanjan, and some other cities.
On September 21st, one of the largest protests of the “Woman, Life, Freedom” movement took place, and the violent suppression of protesters by security forces resulted in dozens of deaths in various cities.
Video: Security forces in masks firing directly at protesters with shotguns at close range in Mehrshahr, Karaj.
Security forces in masks firing directly at protesters with shotguns at close range in Mehrshahr, Karaj.
In the city of Gonbad-e Kavus, extensive protests erupted, and women and girls set headscarves, a symbol of compulsory hijab, on fire. From the very beginning of the protests, security forces had resorted to shooting at protesters, which resulted in many citizens losing one or both eyes.
Warning: The video below shows security forces shooting a woman in the eye in Esfarayen. Some viewers might find the content disturbing.
An elderly woman in Rasht, who had participated in the protests, removed her headscarf and shouted: “Say it: down with Khamenei!”
Various universities across the country were once again the scene of student protests. Students at the University of Tehran chanted: “So many years of crimes, shame on this regime”. On this day, many of the women who had participated in the protests set their headscarves on fire.
Amirhossein Basati (Kermanshah), Sadr-al Din Litani (Oshnaviyeh), Milan Haghighi (Oshnaviyeh), Amin Marefat (Oshnaviyeh), Ghazaleh Chalabi (Amol), Mohammad Farmani (Tehran), Abdollah Mohammadpour (Balou village), Mohsen Qeysari (Ilam), Danesh Rahnama (Balou Village), Hannaneh and Hoseinali Kia (Nowshahr), Mohsen (Sha’ban) Mohammadi Khouchsarai (Qaemshahr), Hadis Najafi (Karaj), Saeed Mohammadi (Eslamabad), Amir Fouladi (Eslamabad), Mehrzad Avazpour (Nowshahr), Mohammad Hassan Torkaman (Babol), Parsa Rezadoust (Hashtgerd), Erfan Rezaei Navai (Amol), Mohsen Malmir (Nowshahr), Pedram Azarnoush (Dehdasht), Mehrdad Behnam Asl (Dehdasht), Rouzbeh Khademian (Fardis, Karaj), Milad Zareh (Babol), Behnam Layeghpour (Rasht), Yaseen Jamalzadeh (Rezvanshahr), Sasan Qorbani (Rezvanshahr) and other citizens were killed on this day.
Content Warning! The video below depicts the moment Amirhossein Basati, a 15-year-old child is killed in Kermanshah and may be disturbing for some readers.
On this day, Hadis Najafi, a 22-year-old from Mehrshahr, Karaj, recorded a video of herself before she was killed, where she said:
“I’m really happy I’m going to take part in the protests. I’d like to look back on this day after a few years and be happy I was there today.”
Widespread arrests were initiated across the country, leading to the detention of six female activists from the “Zhiwano” feminist organization in Sanandaj.
Gabriel Boric, Chile’s leftwing President, addressing the United Nations General Assembly, stated: “Violence against women must stop.”
Over 200 members of academic staff from universities across the country called for the abolition of compulsory hijab and the dismantling of related institutions.
Iran Human Rights Organization reported at least eleven individuals were killed by security forces in Amol.
On the night of Thursday, September 21, security forces stormed the house of Niloofar Hamedi, the journalist who had interviewed Mahsa Amini’s parents and detained her. Niloofar Hamedi has been in detention since then.
On this day, the internet was once again cut off. September 21st marked the first day of extensive internet shutdown by the government since the November 2019 protests.
September 22nd, 2022
The internet shutdown continued, and scattered protests, mainly during the night, persisted in some cities. Cities such as Tehran, Malard, Salmanshahr, Ardebil, Kashmar, Anzali, Hamedan, Zanjan, Orumiyeh, Khorramabad, Sanandaj, Shahinshahr, Karaj, Fardis, Oshnavieh, Babol, Parand, and some others witnessed protests.
Mahsa Mogouyi, 19 years old, and Shirin Alizadeh were killed on this day. Shirin Alizadeh was the woman who was hit in the face by a bullet while filming the protests from inside a car and recorded the moment of her own death.
In Dehdasht, security forces opened fire on the protesters. Several people were injured. In the video an injured protester is visible.
Iranians gathered in various cities around the world, such as Toronto with the presence of Hamed Esmaeilion, and also in Malmo, to support their compatriots in Iran.
September 23rd, 2022
Internet shutdown continued extensively in various parts of the country for the third consecutive day.
Annalena Baerbock, the Foreign Minister of Germany, referred to Mahsa Amini’s murder as a violation of women’s rights and human rights by the Iranian government. She announced her intention to raise this case in the United Nations Human Rights Council. The Chancellor of Germany also described Mahsa Amini’s death as “horrifying” and condemned it.
The U.S. Department of the Treasury expanded Iran General License D-2 to further support internet freedom in Iran and counter the censorship imposed by the Islamic Republic.
On this day, protests continued in Tehran, Mashhad, Oshnavieh, Babol, Bukan, Baneh, Miandoab, Parand, Sanandaj, Rasht, and several other cities.
Sarina Esmailzadeh, a 16-year-old teenager from Karaj, was reportedly killed on this day due to multiple blows to her head.
The video below is of Sarina reciting a poem she had composed herself along with Paris Gaité lullaby that she loved.
Another video from the protests in Bukan shows security forces shooting towards a citizen’s window while he was filming, with his son standing next to him. There were reports that security forces also stormed apartment buildings in Mehr housing in Bukan, destroying people’s homes on this night.
In Shahr-e-Rey, security forces fired at the protesters with Kalashnikov rifles.
Extensive protests were underway in various parts of the capital, Tehran. In the video below, protesters under Sattarkhan Bridge chant: ““This is the year of blood, Seyed Ali will be overthrown,”
In a rally of the Iranian diaspora in the Netherlands, a remarkably large crowd gathered in The Hague to support the ongoing nationwide protests in Iran.
Nationwide protests in Iran continued, and thousands of videos and images from the protests were published.
The video below provides a visual report of the changes in the course of the protests from the time of Jina (Mahsa) Amini’s death on September 16th, 2022, until Thursday, November 23, 2022. Source: “Nemay-e-Enqelab” website.