This weekend, more than a dozen activists staged a “die-in” at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Assyrian Sculpture Court in solidarity with protesters in Iran. The activists were part of Woman Life Freedom NYC, a group committed to amplifying the voices of Iranians amidst months of women-led protests sparked by the murder of 22-year-old Kurdish-Iranian Mahsa (Jina) Amini at the hands of Iran’s “morality police” in September.
The action was held on the morning of Sunday, December 4, around 10:30am and lasted for about half an hour. Documentation of the “die-in” shows activists splayed out on the floors of The Met, wearing white T-shirts stained with fake blood and holding handmade signs citing the various reasons the Iranian regime has arrested or murdered Iranian protesters onsite. The signs feature statements including “I was filming the protest and they killed me;” “They killed me in your silence;” and “They raped and murdered me in the Islamic Republic prison.”
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A video of the action on the group’s social media accounts is accompanied by Iranian dissident rapper Toomaj’s 2021 song “Soorakh Moosh” (“Rat Hole”). Toomaj has been detained, tortured, and held in solitary confinement by the Iranian authorities as of October 30 for his socially charged, critical lyrics. Toomaj may be facing the death penalty like hundreds of other protesters in custody.
The protest aimed to “draw attention to the regime’s deadly crackdown on protesters in Iran, and show the world is watching and behind the Iranian people,” Woman Life Freedom NYC said in a statement to Hyperallergic. The group cited data from the Human Rights Activists News Agency according to which the Iranian regime has killed 470 protesters, among them 64 children, since the beginning of the protests. More than 18,000 protesters have been arrested.
On Saturday, December 3, several media outlets reported that Iran’s morality police is to be disbanded, citing a comment by the country’s Attorney General Mohammad Jafar Montazeri. However, Iran’s state media Al-Alam disputed the reports, clarifying that Montazeri’s quotes were misinterpreted and that the Islamic Republic of Iran hasn’t published an official statement about the abolition of the morality police.