At least 50 people have been killed in Iran in protests, suppressed by security forces, over the death of a young woman after her arrest by vice police, the NGO Iran Human Rights (IHR) reported on Friday. .
According to the Oslo-based organisation, which on Thursday gave a death toll of at least 31, six people were killed by firearms by security forces in the town of Rezvanshahr, in the northern province of Gilan. Thursday evening, and other deaths were recorded in Babol and Amol (north). Demonstrations have taken place in about 80 cities for the past week, she added.
Mahsa Amini, 22, was arrested on September 13 in Tehran for “wearing inappropriate clothes” by the morality police responsible for enforcing the Islamic Republic’s dress code. She died three days later in hospital, and her death sparked a series of protests across the country. Activists said she received a fatal blow to the head but Iranian officials denied this and announced an investigation.
State media has reported the death of 17 people in these demonstrations, but NGOs are advancing higher tolls. “The authorities have acknowledged the death of at least 17 people while independent sources speak of 36 deaths”, had already indicated Thursday evening on Twitter the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) based in New York. “Expect that toll to go up. International leaders must pressure Iranian officials to allow protests without the use of lethal weapons,” they added.
ATIT ISO. In Iran, protests break out across the country after the death of Mahsa Amini
After the death of Mahsa Amini, demonstrations began in the main cities of Iran, including the capital Tehran, Isfahan (center) or Mashhad (north-east).
An “enemy conspiracy”, say the Revolutionary Guards
The Revolutionary Guards, the ideological army of the Islamic Republic, attacked the demonstrators and denounced “the media war” launched “under the pretext of the death of a compatriot”. Praising the “efforts and sacrifices of the police”, they assured that the recent “conspiracy of the enemy” would be “doomed to failure”.
“The government responded with live ammunition, pellet guns and tear gas, according to videos shared on social media that showed protesters bleeding profusely,” CHRI said in a statement.
According to the Kurdish human rights organization Hengaw, the security forces fired during the night from Thursday to Friday with “weapons semi-lourdes on the demonstrators in the city of Oshnaviyeh (north-west), without specifying which weapons they were. In several cities, demonstrators clashed with security forces, burned police vehicles and chanted anti-government slogans, according to media and activists.
Police arrested an unknown number of people, including journalists, Iranian media reported. The most viral images on social networks are those where we see women setting fire to their headscarves.
According to state television, hundreds of people, including women in chadors, particularly in Tehran, have on the contrary demonstrated in support of the regime, with flags of the Islamic Republic, placards of support and thanks to the forces of the order. “Death to conspirators”, “Advocating the end of the veil is American policy”, could be heard as slogans.
“Water cannons and sticks to disperse protesters”
Amnesty International had recently denounced a “brutal repression”. She also mentioned the use by the security forces of “water cannons and sticks to disperse the demonstrators”.
The authorities claim for their part that the demonstrators, described as “rioters”, threw stones at the police, set fire to police cars and chanted anti-government slogans, according to the official agency Irna.