The one-year anniversary of the death of Mahsa "Jina" Amini was marked Saturday by a strong military presence and a general strike by tradespeople and shopkeepers in Kurdish cities across numerous provinces of Iran — along with protest rallies in cities worldwide.
Numerous images circulating Saturday on social media also showed a significant number of military and security forces around the Amini family residence in Saqqez in Iran's Kurdish region.
Last week, despite repeated summons from security authorities, Amjad Amini and Mozhgan Eftekhari, Mahsa's parents, said they intended to hold "religious and traditional ceremonies" Saturday at their daughter's gravesite in observance of the anniversary of her "tragic passing" while in the custody of Iran's morality police.
Over the past few days, Amini's family said that security authorities requested they abstain from arranging the anniversary ceremony, but her father steadfastly underscored the significance of hosting the commemorative event.
Amjad Amini was detained for a short time Saturday before being released, according to the Kurdistan Human Rights Network. Iran's official IRNA news agency denied he was arrested, though it would not confirm if he was briefly detained or warned.
Amjad Amini recently told VOA's Persian Service, "To honor the name and memory of our Jina, a martyr with an innocent and pure soul, and to provide solace to the hearts of our family, relatives, and all her well-wishers, we are resolute in commemorating the anniversary ceremony this year. Nevertheless, considering the prevailing circumstances, we cannot extend formal invitations to the public or advise them against attending."
Images obtained by VOA showed that multiple businesses were closed in some Kurdish cities, including Sanandaj, Divandareh, and Baneh.
Over the past few days, signs of protest have been met with harsh suppression by security forces and a significant deployment of military personnel in city centers and thoroughfares.
Images circulating on social media Saturday showed Iranians in New Zealand participating in a protest gathering on the anniversary of Amini's death. Iranians there carried placards in solidarity with the Iranian protest movement and raised their voices in chants advocating for democracy and freedom in Iran.
Iranians living in Australia organized a protest gathering in Melbourne's central square and published images showed Kylie Moore-Gilbert, a former detainee in Iran, addressing the crowd.
Moore-Gilbert was arrested in Iran in 2018 and following nine months of detention, she received a 10-year prison sentence on espionage charges. After enduring 804 days in prison, she was released in exchange for the freedom of three Iranian citizens residing abroad and subsequently returned to Australia.
Images received by VOA also showed Iranians protesting in front of the Islamic Republic Embassy in Japan.