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DM INTERNATIONAL PERSON OF THE YEAR RUNNERS UP 2022

Iranian women’s cries of ‘freedom and equality’ inspired by Mahsa Amini’s death

Iranian women’s cries of ‘freedom and equality’ inspired by Mahsa Amini’s death
Demonstrators gather in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany, to march in solidarity with protesters in Iran on 15 October 2022, following the death of Mahsa Amini in September. (Photo: Omer Messinger / Getty Images)

Protests marking a historic turning point for Iranian women have been going on for months. After the death of the 22-year-old in police custody, young women are not backing down easily this time. These Women protesters in Iran are runner-ups in Daily Maverick's International Person of the Year category.

Mahsa Amini died in the custody of “morality police” after she was arrested for allegedly wearing her hijab incorrectly. “Morality police” enforce Iran’s Islamic code of conduct.

Young women have come out in numbers to protest against the suppression that women have endured for the past 43 years, and to defy the rules. They have also taken part in protests on social media.

Iranian women have held demonstrations pleading for their freedom since the 1979 revolution, but there is a new mood now.

“The protests since September 2022 are not like the ones in 2009, 2018 or 2019. The protesters are young and brave; they no longer want mere reforms and have defied the crackdowns,” said a report.

Read in Daily Maverick: “A champion of justice – for Andrea Johnson, it’s all about an intense belief in right and wrong

At protests, “death to the dictator”, “no hijab, no force” and “we want freedom and equality” have been the cries of many young women.

In support of the women back home, Iran’s soccer players did not sing their national anthem at their first 2022 World Cup game against England.


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According to reports, the government has executed two prisoners for crimes it claims they committed during protests.

The UN Human Rights Council held a session on Iran on 24 November. It condemned violations of human rights and voted to establish a fact-finding mission. DM168

Asive Mabula is an intern from Stellenbosch University’s Centre of Journalism and Media Studies honours programme.

How we chose the People of the Year winners

In the past, Daily Maverick journalists decided who they thought warranted the title of Person of the Year, but for the second year running we have asked readers to vote for their preferred choice, with the proviso that we still have the final say. Choosing the annual winners is a labour of love because that’s what it takes to get a bunch of DM editors to decide whether they agree or disagree with the choices of 13,000 readers. Over the next few days we will republish online all the results in various categories. – Heather Robertson, DM168 editor

This story first appeared in our weekly Daily Maverick 168 newspaper, which is available countrywide for R25.

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