One month after Mahsa Amini’s arrest, Iran protest deaths top 100



Activists in Tehran have called for protesters to turn out “in solidarity with the people of Sanandaj and the heroic people of Zahedan”.


On September 13, Mahsa Amini was arrested by Iran’s morality police in Tehran for allegedly breaching the country’s severe dress code for women. Days later, the 22-year-old Iranian woman died in custody, triggering mass protests and crackdowns that have claimed more than 100 lives, according to a human rights group. The discontent has spread, posing a serious challenge to the Islamic republic.

The circumstances around Amini’s death in custody remain vague with her family and Iranian authorities offering contradictory versions.

The 22-year-old Iranian woman died on September 16, three days after her arrest by Iran’s notorious morality police for an alleged breach of the Islamic republic’s strict dress code for women.

An official Iranian forensic investigation found Amini had died of a longstanding illness rather than reported beatings.

Her family has denied the official version, stressing that their daughter was in perfect health and had died of a violent blow to the head. They have filed a complaint against security officers involved in her arrest and detention.

Amini’s death sparked mass protests spearheaded by women taking to the streets chanting, “Zan, zendegi, azadi!” – women, life, freedom.

Young women, university students and even schoolgirls have since taken off their hijabs and faced off with security forces in the biggest wave of social unrest to grip Iran in almost three years.

At least 108 people, including 28 children, have been killed and hundreds more detained and held mostly in adult prisons, according to human rights groups.

The unrest has been particularly marked in Amini’s western home province of Kurdistan as well as in the southeastern city of Zahedan, where demonstrations have erupted against a police officer accused of rape in a separate case.


Khamenei accuses ‘enemies’ of stoking ‘riots

Gunshots were fired as Iranian security forces confronted protesters in the cities of Isfahan and Karaj and in Amini’s hometown Saqez, in videos shared by two Norway-based human rights organisations.

“Death to the dictator,” shouted female students who had defiantly taken off their mandatory hijab headscarves as they marched down a Tehran street, in a video verified by AFP.

Shots were heard in Isfahan amid the “nationwide protests and strikes”, Iran Human Rights (IHR) said of a video it tweeted, and in Saqez, according to the Kurdish rights group Hengaw, which reported that later “the security forces fled”.

Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Wednesday again accused Iran’s “enemies” of stoking “street riots”.

“The actions of the enemy, such as propaganda, trying to influence minds, creating excitement, encouraging and even teaching the manufacture of incendiary devices are now completely clear,” he said.

The ISNA news agency reported a heavy security presence in the capital and demonstrations, including at Tehran University where police intervened “to restore order, without resorting to violence”.

‘Bloody crackdown’ feared

Activists in Tehran have called for protesters to turn out “in solidarity with the people of Sanandaj and the heroic people of Zahedan”.

“We don’t want spectators. Come and join us,” a group of mainly young women outside Tehran’s Azad University sang in IHR footage verified by AFP.

A man who asked not to be identified told the BBC: “The atmosphere is quite tense and yet it is exciting. People are hopeful this time and we hope that a real change is just around the corner. I don’t think people are willing to give up this time. 

“You can hear some sort of protest everywhere, almost every night. That feels good, that feels really good.”

IHR said the security forces had so far killed at least 108 people, and at least another 93 people in Zahedan, while warning of an “impending bloody crackdown” in Kurdistan.

It also said workers had joined protest strikes this week at the Asalouyeh petrochemical plant in the southwest, Abadan in the west and Bushehr in the south.

In its widening crackdown, Iran has blocked access to social media, including Instagram and WhatsApp, and launched a campaign of mass arrests.


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