As unrest grows, Iran blocked access to Instagram, WhatsApp

Tehran: Iran curbed access to Meta Platforms’ Instagram and WhatsApp, two of the last remaining social networks in the country, amid protests over the death of a woman in police custody, residents and internet watchdog NetBlocks said.

NetBlocks also reported a “nation-scale loss of connectivity” on Iran’s main mobile telephone provider and another company’s network.

Social media service blocked in Iran:

In Iran, WhatsApp’s servers have been disrupted on multiple internet providers, hours after Instagram’s services were blocked, London-based NetBlocks said. Protesters in Tehran and other Iranian cities torched police stations and vehicles on Thursday as unrest triggered by the death of a woman detained by the morality police intensified, with reports of security forces coming under attack.

Mahsa Amini, 22, died last week after being arrested in Tehran for wearing “unsuitable attire”. She fell into a coma while in detention. The authorities have said they would launch an investigation into the cause of her death.

The incident unleashed huge anger in the population and the worst protests in the Islamic Republic since 2019. Most have been concentrated in Iranian Kurdish-populated northwest but have spread to the capital and at least 50 cities and towns nationwide, with police using force to disperse protesters.

People attend a protest over the death of Mahsa Amini, a woman who died after being arrested by the Islamic republics morality police, in Tehran, September 21, 2022.

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People attend a protest over the death of Mahsa Amini, a woman who died after being arrested by the Islamic republic’s “morality police”, in Tehran September 21, 2022.

A member of an Iranian pro-government paramilitary organisation, the Basij, was stabbed to death in the northeastern city of Mashhad on Wednesday, two semi-official Iranian news agencies reported on Thursday.

The Tasnim and Fars news agencies’ reports of the stabbing appeared on Telegram as both their websites were out of reach. There was no official confirmation of the death.

Tasnim also said another member of the Basij was killed in the city of Qazvin as a result of a gunshot wound inflicted by “rioters and gangs”, bringing the total reported number of security force members killed in the unrest to four.

In the northeast, protesters shouted “We will die, we will die but we’ll get Iran back” near a police station which was set on fire, a video posted on the Twitter account 1500tasvir showed. The 1500 tasvir account focuses on Iran protests and has around 100,000 followers. Reuters

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