The fight for freedom continues

For three consecutive days, Iranians closed their businesses and marched on the streets of their hometowns in Iran to commemorate the victims of the Bloody November of 2019 and those who lost their lives during the recent 63 days of nationwide protests, which started with Mahsa Amini’s murder and quickly became a cry for freedom.

Massive demonstrations were held in different parts of the country based on eyewitnesses and limited videos from Iran as protestors struggled to connect to the internet. In some areas, smaller suburban habitats also came to the streets to show their unity with the rest of the country.

Different sectors and industries also showed their support for the nationwide strikes. Based on past experiences and the unfortunate unfolding of the Islamic Revolution of 1979, society is always eager to have the bazaar’s support during economic strikes. In his essay for Merip, Ahmad Ashraf, a sociologist whose main focus has been Iran throughout his career, writes about the link between the clergy and the bazaar, as a social class, during the Islamic Revolution. “The bazaar elements provide the clergy’s economic foundation and financial resources. On the other hand, the clergy supports them in their conflicts with the government. The bazaar has served as the cradle of the traditional urban culture in Iran and has maintained and reproduced its cultural elements in the face of modernization and development. This is a structurally important explanation for the survival of traditional sectors in Iranian society.”

Bazaar is amongst the wealthiest classes in the country, and for most of them, tradition and religion are intertwined concepts. So, their support of the strikes is not only seen as a means to economic paralysis but a step closer to a more inclusive and national protest.

The regime’s reaction to the continuous unrest throughout the country hasn’t wavered; with each passing day, their crackdown and violence increase. From abducting protestors to shooting people on the streets, they aim at anyone within their post’s eyesight. On the second day of the nationwide strikes, the regime’s forces shot and killed 9-year-old Kian Pirfalak and killed 14-year-old Sepehr Maghsoudi by hitting him on the head; both children were from the city of Izeh.

There’s a slogan that is being used repeatedly by the protestors, which says: “If you kill one person, 1000 more will rise.” It appears the slogan is very much the reality of Iran’s current social climate. The number of people who took to the streets to cry for justice and freedom increased on the third day of the strikes after the news of Kian Pirfalak’s death became public. In a video that has now become viral, Kian talks about how he wants to become an inventor when he grows up. With his round chubby face and tiny lisp, he shows a boat that he has invented to showcase at a festival. “In the name of the God of rainbows,” he says at the beginning of the video. He was shot while riding in a car with his parents and younger sibling. Fearful of the Islamic regime’s forces and their inhumane obduction of victims’ bodies, his family kept him at home before burial and covered his young fallen body with ice cubes they had gotten from neighbours. No. This is not a scenario for a Hollywood movie. This is a real report of a real event that happened less than 72 hours ago.

On the third day of the widespread strikes and protests, more people filled the streets of big and small cities. Witnesses and on-the-ground activists believe that the regime’s brutality and the unstoppable killing machine are why so many people are joining in.

The Islamic regime has pressured business owners and workers to continue working during the three-day strike by threatening shop owners with destroying their place of business and workers with severe “consequences”. In cities like Tehran, Isfahan, Tabriz, and Mashhad, regime forces have been seen marking stores and shops that have remained closed during these three days; their plans for these places are still unknown.