At least 9 killed as Iran protests spread over woman’s death

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Clashes between Iranian security forces and protesters angry over the death of a 22-year-old woman in police custody have killed at least nine people since she was arrested. Violence broke out over the weekend, according to a tally Thursday by The Associated Press.

The extent of Iran’s ongoing unrest, the worst in several years, remains unclear as protesters in at least a dozen cities – venting anger over social repression and family crises. rise of the country – continued to encounter security and paramilitary forces.

Massive incident of Instagram and WhatsApp, which protesters use to share information about the government’s crackdown on dissent, continued on Thursday. Authorities also appear to be disrupting internet access to the outside world, a tactic human rights activists say the government often employs in times of turmoil.

In a country where radio and television stations are already controlled by the state and journalists regularly face the risk of arrest, the paramilitary Revolutionary Guard on Thursday urged the Judicial authorities prosecuted “anyone spreading fake news and rumors” on social media about the unrest.

The Protests in Iran begins as a surge of emotion about the death of Mahsa Amini, a young woman detained by the country’s ethics police for allegedly violating a strictly enforced dress code. Her death has sparks harsh condemnation from the United States, the European Union and the United Nations.

Police say she died of a heart attack and was not mistreated, but her family has cast doubt on that account. Independent experts affiliated with the UN said on Thursday that reports suggested she had been brutally beaten by ethics police without providing evidence. They called for a fair investigation to hold the perpetrators accountable.

Protests have evolved over the past four days into an open challenge to the government, with women removing and burning state-regulated headscarves in the streets and Iranians burning trash cans and calls for the fall of the self-proclaimed Islamic Republic.

“Die for the dictator!” was a common cry in the protests.

The protests have rocked universities in Tehran and far-western cities like Kermanshah. Though widespread, the unrest looks different from previous rounds of nationwide protests triggered by pocket problems as Iran’s economy stagnates under heavy US sanctions.

The unrest that erupted in 2019 as a result of the government’s sudden increase in gas prices mobilized the working masses in small towns. According to human rights groups, hundreds of people were killed in the crackdown by security forces, the bloodiest violence since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Iran’s state media this week reported protests by hundreds of people in at least 13 cities, including the capital Tehran. Online videos showed security forces firing tear gas and water cannons to disperse the protest. London-based Amnesty International reported that officers also fired birdshots and metal pellets and beat protesters with batons.

Footage on social media from the northern city of Tabriz shows a young man believed to be shot by security forces bleeding in the street as protesters call for help.

At least nine people have died in the confrontations, according to AP figures based on statements from Iranian state and semi-official media. In a statement on Thursday, the Guard blamed the unrest on “the enemies of Iran,” saying “their enticements will fail.”

In Amini’s home province in the northwest, Kurdistan, the provincial police chief said four protesters were killed by live fire. In Kermanshah, the prosecutor said two protesters were killed by opposition groups, insisting that the bullets were not fired by Iranian security forces.

Some protesters appear to have targeted security forces. Three men affiliated with Basij, a volunteer force belonging to the Guard, were killed in clashes in the cities of Shiraz, Tabriz and Mashhad, semi-official media reported, raising the toll. The death toll is recognized by officials on both sides as at least nine.

In Mashhad, the state agency IRNA reported that a policeman was hospitalized with severe burns after protesters tried to set him on fire.

Independent UN experts say the clashes have left at least eight people dead, including a woman and a 16-year-old boy, and dozens of others injured and arrested.

The clashes left a trail of destruction. In Mazandaran province, along the Caspian coast, angry mobs damaged or set fire to more than 40 government properties and injured 76 security personnel, Deputy Governor Rouhollah Solgi said.

According to NetBlocks, a London-based internet access monitoring group, describe the restrictions as the most severe since the massive protest in November 2019, when the protests spread, authorities has shut down the Internet.

Iran has struggled with the wave of protests in the recent past, mainly due to a protracted economic crisis exacerbated by Western sanctions related to the country’s nuclear program. Iranians also blame government corruption and mismanagement as the price of basic goods soars, the currency depreciates and unemployment remains high.

The Biden administration and its European allies are working to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, in which Iran limited its nuclear activities in return for sanctions, but talks have stalled in the past. many months.

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