With demonstrations around the country, the government of Iran marked the 44th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution on Saturday.
The state-organized rallies differ markedly from the widespread protests that erupted after 22-year-old Kurdish woman Jina Mahsa Amini died in the custody of the controversial morality police last year.
Human rights organizations estimate thousands of Iranians have been arrested and several protesters have been executed, but smaller acts of rebellion continue, such as an increasing number of women choosing to ignore the country’s mandatory headscarf rule.
Iran’s conservative President Ebrahim Raisi used the occasion to call the anti-government demonstrators “deceived youth” and claim victory over the protest movement.
“People have realized that the enemy’s problem is not woman, life, or freedom,” Raisi said in a speech at Azadi Square in Tehran. “Rather, they want to take our independence.”
In the lead-up to the anniversary Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei declared a conditional amnesty for tens of thousands of protesters, according to state media.
The military also put on a show of strength on Saturday, displaying its Emad and Sejjil ballistic missiles as well as its Shahed-136 and Mohajer drones.
Hackers disrupt presidential address
During Raisi’s televised address, a hacker group known as Edalat-e Ali claimed to distrupt the online livestream.
In a video later posted to social media, the hackers appeared to jam Raisi’s speech with a video of person wearing a mask for about a minute.
The figure shouted: “Death to the Islamic Republic.”
They also encouraged Iranians to pull their money from the country’s banks and take the the streets next week.
In October, Edalat-e Ali interrupted a live state television broadcast of Iran’s supreme leader as part of the protests sparked by the death of Amini.
Iranians overseas condemn Islamic Republic
Outside the country, many Iranians used the 44th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution to protest against the government and its supression of women’s rights.
Thousands of people marched in Paris, while smaller demonstrations were also held in other cities like Düsseldorf.
“The protests are meant to show that Iranians are standing up to the regime,” Hamburg politician Danial Ilkhanipour said at the rally in Paris.
Swedish MP Alireza Akhondi, who was also at the protest in Paris, told AFP “the main goal is to make EU ministers finally hear the voices of the Iranians.”
“We want to the Revolutionary Guards to be labelled as a terror group,” he said. “It is the key point.”