Protests in Iran: According to an NGO, more than 75 dead in 10 days

Protests in Iran: According to an NGO, more than 75 dead in 10 days

More than 75 people have been killed in Iran in the repression of demonstrations sparked ten days ago by the death of a young woman detained by vice squads, an NGO said on Monday. The Iranian authorities have so far given a death toll of 41, including protesters and police officers. They also announced the arrest of more than 1,200 protesters.

The protests erupted on September 16 after the hospital death of 22-year-old Iranian girl Mahsa Amini, who was arrested three days earlier for violating the strict dress code for women in the Islamic Republic of Iran. They are the largest since November 2019, caused by the severely suppressed rise in fuel prices in Iran (230 dead according to official report, more than 300 according to Amnesty International).

According to Oslo-based NGO Iran Human Rights (IHR), “at least 76 people were killed in the demonstrations,” including “six women and four children,” in 14 provinces across the country. The NGO claimed to have “received videos and death certificates confirming the firing of live ammunition at protesters.”

Iranians have been taking to the streets every night since Mahsa Amini’s death. “In the morning my wife drives the children to school and I open my shop. Everything is calm,” Mahmoud, 60, said in Tehran’s Valiasr Square. “But as soon as night falls and the protests start, I have to close my shop.” Many police officers, helmeted and armed with batons, then took positions to prevent the gatherings.

“Woman, Life, Freedom”

The protests in Tehran and in several cities took place on Sunday evening. In the northwest of the capital, protesters, some gathered on the rooftops of buildings, launched anti-government slogans interspersed with “woman, life and liberty,” said Ali, a resident.

According to footage released by the IHR, protesters in Tehran chanted “death to the dictator” and demanded the overthrow of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. According to videos recently released by AFP, riot police beat protesters with batons and students tore up large photos of the Supreme Leader and his predecessor, Imam Khomeini.

She also fired pellets and live ammunition at protesters, who threw stones, set fire to police cars and set fire to public buildings, according to human rights groups. Other images showed women taking off their veils and burning them or symbolically cutting their hair in several cities to the cheers of the crowds.

In addition to the more than 1,200 arrests by the authorities — around 450 in Mazandaran province (north) and more than 700 in neighboring Gilan province — the Committee to Protect Journalists on Monday reported the arrest of 20 Iranian journalists since September 16. Iran has blamed the protest movement on “foreign plots” and pointed the finger at the United States, its sworn enemy.

Its chief of diplomacy, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, has criticized “the United States’ interventionist approach to Iran’s affairs” and accused them of supporting “the rioters.”

“Listen to the demands of the people”

In the face of repression, the European Union denounced the “general and disproportionate use of force”. US President Joe Biden also denounced the suppression of the demonstrations and said he showed solidarity with the “brave women of Iran”. Canada has decided to impose sanctions on a dozen Iranian officials and entities, including the Morality Police.

And Berlin called on Iran “not to use force” against demonstrators. But the Iranian authorities remain steadfast. On Saturday, Conservative President Ebrahim Raïssi called on police to crack down on what he described as “rioters”. According to him, Justice Chief Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei ruled out any “leniency” towards the instigators of the “riots”.

Still, a prominent conservative cleric and ardent supporter of Ali Khamenei, Grand Ayatollah Hossein Nouri Hamedani, urged the authorities to “listen to people’s demands and solve their problems.”


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