Mahsa Amini: Clashes erupt as people mourn the death of a teenager
Clashes erupted across Iran on Wednesday as thousands of people turned up at the burial site of Mahsa Amini in Saqqez, a city in Kurdistan province, to mark 40 days since her death, the official said. semi-official Iranian state news agency ISNA.
Protests have swept across the Islamic Republic following the death of the 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish girl, who died on September 16 after being arrested by ‘morals police’ and taken to a ‘re-education centre’, allegedly not to having adhered to the country’s conservative dress code.
Nationwide protests took place in Iran on Wednesday to mark 40 days since Amini’s death, an important day of mourning in Iranian and Islamic tradition.
The unrest came on the same day that at least 15 people were killed and 10 others were injured in a ‘terrorist attack’ at the Shahcheragh shrine in the southern Iranian city of Shiraz, according to reports. IRNA information. It is unclear whether Wednesday’s attack was related to the protests.
ISNA said security forces « did not prevent » protesters from going to Amini’s grave in Saqqez, which is also his hometown, but reported clashes took place after the people have left the site.
« There were no clashes between the mourners and the police at the burial site, most were chanting Kurdish slogans, some headed into town with the intention of clashes, one of them raised the Kurdish flag, » ISNA said.
In videos shared on social media, large crowds of people and lines of cars are heading towards the Aichi cemetery in Saqqez where Amini is buried. Groups of people in the videos are heard chanting « women, life, freedom » and « death to this child killing regime ».
Other videos show plumes of smoke rising from several fires on the streets of another nearby neighborhood. Gunshots are heard in the background as protesters march through the streets.
Video shared by Kurdish rights group Hengaw and verified by CNN shows security forces deployed in large numbers in Saqqez on Tuesday night, after activists called for nationwide protests to mark 40 days since the death of Amini.
Internet watchdog Netblocks said on Twitter that near total internet outage was reported in Iran’s Kurdistan province and Sanandaj from Wednesday morning. State news, ISNA, reported that following « scattered outbreaks and clashes », the internet in « Saqqez town was cut off for security reasons ».
There is no law in Iran that says the government cannot ban religious ceremonies if the state deems there are security concerns.
In the past, the government has banned and attacked religious ceremonies citing security concerns, and in other cases it has reached out to families to ask them to refrain from holding public mourning ceremonies.
Iranian state media IRNA said Amini’s family issued a statement to say they would not mark his death on Wednesday.
Kurdish rights group Hengaw said the Amini family was « under a lot of pressure » from security forces to write the statement, adding that they had threatened to arrest Amini’s brother if the procession used to take place.
Large protests erupted in Tehran on Wednesday, where security forces fired tear gas at protesters mourning Amini’s death.
Video posted to social media showed protesters burning trash cans and throwing rocks. Security forces could be seen firing pellet guns in return.
A group of protesters in Tehran, believed to be doctors and dentists, were seen chanting « freedom, freedom, freedom! », according to another video posted on social media. Another separate video shows tear gas fired in their direction.
Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps of Iran [IRGC] Riot units were seen marching in Tehran as protests escalated on Wednesday, according to video posted on social media.
Similar units fired on a group of medics protesting in Tehran earlier in the day, forcing the crowd to disperse, according to the person taking the video. It is unclear what was shot in the video.
Protests also took place at universities across the country, including Ferdowsi University in Mashhad; Azad University in Karaj; the Science and Research Branch of the Islamic Azad University in Tehran; and Azad University – Kerman.
IRNA reported on Wednesday that the Sharif University of Technology in Tehran has announced that classes for new students « will continue to be held virtually until further notice » due to the « continuation of some issues and lack of support ». ‘a quiet environment’.
As protests rage, international leaders have condemned Iranian forces’ crackdown on peaceful protesters. The United States on Wednesday imposed a series of new sanctions against Iranian officials involved in the ongoing crackdown.
Among those targeted by the sanctions are the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps intelligence organization and the IRGC’s deputy operations commander, as well as two officials from the province of Sistan-Balochistan, « site of some of the worst violence in latest round of protests.” « , the Treasury Department said in a statement.
United Nations experts have called for an independent international investigation into the crackdown.
Experts noted in a Wednesday statement that an « alarming number of protesters have already been arrested and killed, many of them children, women and the elderly », as they called on the government to tell police to cease excessive use and deadly force.