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Debate | Roundtable

‘Women, Life, Freedom’ Protests in Iran: Will This Time Be Different?

Tuesday 15 November 2022
Turfmarkt 99
2511 DP The Hague

For more than six weeks, young Iranians have been leading protests in the streets. Their movement began in response to the murder of Mahsa Jina Amini, a 22-year-old woman, by the morality police for not wearing a proper hijab. Protestors’ demands rapidly escalated from demanding improved women’s rights to calling for regime change. Despite severe repression by the security forces, there is no sign of demobilization. The duration, geographical spread, protestors’ bravery, and opposition groups’ solidarity have made these protests the most significant challenge to the Islamic Republic since its establishment in 1979. Indeed, some journalists and protestors are calling this the beginning of a revolution, with videos by protestors providing a window into the events for viewers all around the world. But overthrowing a brutal and repressive regime is not an easy task. Security forces successfully quashed several major anti-government protests in 1999, 2009, and 2019. Will this time be different?

This roundtable, organized by the Leiden University Centre for International Relations (LUCIR), brings together a group of scholars with expertise on Iran as well as socio-political movements in the Global South to discuss the underlying mechanisms and factors leading to this wave of protests in Iran. The panelists will share their analyses of the driving forces behind this popular uprising; the government’s repression strategies; and compare these protests with other movements in the Middle East. The panel will discuss how this revolutionary movement is evolving and where it might be headed.


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