Security officers have confronted protesters with mass arrests, bullets and batons. Amnesty International said that it had confirmed at least 52 deaths, but the numbers are most likely much higher, with hundreds wounded and thousands arrested.
President Ebrahim Raisi, an ultraconservative cleric, addressed the unrest on television late Wednesday, accusing protesters of misusing Ms. Amini’s death to destabilize Iran..
“We have to separate between rightful protest and riots,” he said, adding that the Islamic Republic’s “red line is the lives of the people and their properties.”
At least 19 journalists have been detained across the country since the protests began, according to Reporters Without Borders. Faezeh Hashemi, the daughter of former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and one of Iran’s most prominent reformist politicians, was arrested at a demonstration in Tehran this week, according to state media.
Sanam Vakil, deputy director of the Middle East program at Chatham House, a British research institute, said that the government’s tactics were clear. “The immediate goal is getting people off the streets and back into their homes, which optically and symbolically will show that the state is reasserting this authority,” she said.
“But without any meaningful concessions or outreach to those protesting, grievances are going to continue to fester,” she added, noting that future protests would be inevitable.
Since his election last year, Mr. Raisi has doubled down on enforcing the hijab law, unlike his predecessor, Hassan Rouhani, a moderate who had eased the presence of the morality police.