© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A police bike burns throughout a protest over the demise of Mahsa Amini, a girl who died after being arrested by the Islamic republic’s “morality police”, in Tehran, Iran September 19, 2022. WANA (West Asia Information Company) by way of REUTERS
By Parisa Hafezi
DUBAI (Reuters) -Iranians stored up anti-government protests on Wednesday regardless of an more and more lethal state crackdown, social media studies confirmed, as Supreme Chief Ayatollah Ali Khamenei dismissed the demonstrations as “scattered riots” deliberate by Iran’s enemies.
Protests ignited by the demise of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini whereas within the custody of Iran’s morality police on Sept. 16 have was one of many boldest challenges to the clerical management because the 1979 revolution.
A crowd of not less than 100 individuals blocked a highway in central Tehran, shouting “by cannon, tank or firecracker, mullahs should get misplaced”, one video confirmed. One other video confirmed dozens of riot police deployed in a Tehran avenue the place a fireplace was burning.
Tear fuel was fired throughout a protest outdoors the legal professionals affiliation in Tehran, the place demonstrators who appeared to quantity within the dozens had chanted “girls, life, freedom”, movies posted on social media confirmed.
Reuters couldn’t independently confirm the movies.
Within the northwestern metropolis of Bukan, safety forces fired on protesters, wounding 11 individuals, in line with human rights group Hengaw which additionally reported taking pictures within the metropolis of Kermanshah.
In Sanandaj, the primary metropolis in Amini’s province of Kurdistan, a protester mentioned pictures have been additionally fired. “A number of demonstrators acquired injured. Riot police are all over the place,” they advised Reuters.
Iran’s police chief Hossein Ashtari advised state tv that people linked to opposition teams overseas disguised themselves as police and fired into the crowds. He didn’t specify when or the place, however mentioned a few of them had been arrested.
Whereas observers don’t imagine the protests are near toppling the federal government – authorities withstood six months of protests in 2009 over a disputed election – the practically 4 weeks of unrest have underlined pent-up frustrations over freedoms and rights.
Amini’s demise has struck a nerve, bringing a broad sweep of Iranians onto the streets, with protesters expressing anger on the heavy handedness of morality police and saying the sufferer may have been anybody’s mom, sister or daughter.
The Norway-based Iran Human Rights organisation mentioned the civilian demise toll through the unrest had elevated to not less than 201, together with 23 minors. Its earlier report, on Oct. 8, put the demise toll at 185 individuals.
The authorities have mentioned round 20 members of the safety forces have been killed. Iran has accused its enemies, together with the USA, of fomenting the unrest.
‘STAND UP TO ENEMIES’
The unrest comes at a time of hardship for strange individuals in Iran, the place expensive interventions in wars similar to Syria have fuelled criticism in recent times. The economic system continues to undergo from dangerous administration and from Western sanctions tightened over Iran’s nuclear programme, nudging Tehran ever nearer to Russia and China.
Khamenei, a spotlight of protesters’ anger, mentioned the protests have been designed by Iran’s enemies, the semi-official Tasnim information company reported. “These scattered riots are the passive and clumsy design of the enemy in opposition to the nice and progressive developments and actions of the Iranian nation,” he mentioned.
“The remedy in opposition to enemies is to face as much as them,” he mentioned.
In Iran’s capital, a protester who requested to not be recognized mentioned dozens of riot police had arrested individuals leaving Tehran College.
“They’re beating and pushing individuals,” the protester mentioned.
The protests have been particularly intense within the northwest, the place a lot of Iran’s over 10 million Kurds reside and the place Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have a observe file of placing down unrest.
Hengaw reported strikes in Kurdish areas together with Amini’s hometown of Saqez and Bukan, sharing movies which appeared to point out outlets with their shutters down in each cities.
In Rasht, the capital of Gilan province in northern Iran, a dozen protesters have been seen shouting in a video posted on social media, “from Kurdistan to Gilan, I sacrifice my life for Iran,” echoing chants which have burdened nationwide unity. Reuters couldn’t confirm the video.