Kill Mahsa Amini: More than 75 dead as anti-hijab protests intensify across the country: rights group

Protests in Iran: Officials said Monday they arrested more than 1,200 people during anti-government protests.


More than 75 people have been killed in the crackdown by the Iranian authorities against the unrest caused by the death of Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini in the vice squad, a human rights group said Monday.

The official death toll from the Iranian authorities, meanwhile, has remained at 41, including some members of the security forces.

Officials said Monday they arrested more than 1,200 people as the dragnet spreads against nationwide demonstrations over Amini’s death following her arrest for allegedly violating the country’s strict rules on hijab headscarves and modest clothing.

Protesters took to the streets again Monday night — as they have done every night since Amini’s death on Sept. 16 — in Tehran and elsewhere, witnesses told AFP.

The crowds in Tehran chanted “death to the dictator” and called for the end of the more than three-decade rule of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, 83.

Video footage from several floors above street level, ostensibly in the town of Tabriz, showed people protesting the sound of tear gas canisters fired by security forces, in images published by the Oslo-based Iran Human Rights (IHR) group.

IHR said at least 76 people have been killed in the crackdown in Iran, up from a previous count of 57.

Women in Sanandaj, Kurdistan province, defiantly twisted their headscarves over their heads as motorists honked their horn in solidarity, in video shared by Hengaw, a Kurdish rights organization also based in Norway.

Tensions with the Western powers mounted when Germany summoned the Iranian ambassador and Canada announced sanctions, a day after the European Union deplored the crackdown and Tehran called on British and Norwegian envoys.

– ‘Police on duty 24 hours a day’ –

“We call on the international community to take decisive and united practical steps to end the killing and torture of protesters,” said IHL Director Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam.

Video footage and death certificates obtained by IHR showed “live ammunition being fired directly at protesters,” he claimed.

Iranian riot police in black body armor have beaten protesters with batons during street fighting, and students have taken down large photos of the supreme leader and his predecessor Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, in recent video footage published by AFP.

Amnesty International reported Monday that Hadis Najafi, a 22-year-old protester, was killed in Karaj on September 21. “Security forces fired at her at close range, hitting her in the face, neck and chest,” said the rights group, which confirmed previous versions of events on social media.

Protesters have thrown rocks, set fire to police cars and set fire to public buildings.

Authorities say about 450 people have been arrested in the northern province of Mazandaran, on top of more than 700 reported Saturday in neighboring Gilan, along with dozens in several other regions.

Twenty journalists were among those arrested, according to the Committee for the Protection of Journalists.

“Rooters have attacked government buildings and damaged public property,” Mazandaran’s chief prosecutor, Mohammad Karimi, told the official IRNA news agency, accusing them of being controlled by “foreign anti-revolutionary agents”.

Tehran’s police have been deployed “24 hours a day” and many have not slept, Iran’s judiciary, Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei, said as he thanked exhausted officers and the capital’s police chief during a visit to their headquarters on Sunday, in a video posted by Mizan Online .

Ejei previously stressed “the need for decisive action without leniency” against the instigators of the protest.

But a powerful Shia cleric long aligned with the country’s ultra-conservative establishment urged authorities to take a softer stance.

“Leaders must listen to the demands of the people, solve their problems and be sensitive to their rights,” Grand Ayatollah Hossein Nouri Hamedani said on Sunday.

– Tensions with West –

Despite sweeping internet restrictions, including blocks on Instagram and WhatsApp, new videos widely shared on social media showed protests in Tehran and cities such as Yazd, Isfahan and Bushehr on the Persian Gulf on Sunday night.

Reports said students from Tehran and Al-Zahra Universities and the Sharif Institute have gone on strike and urged professors to join them.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell criticized Iran on Sunday for its “widespread and disproportionate use of force against nonviolent protesters”.

He said the EU would “continue to consider all available options to tackle the assassination of Mahsa Amini” and the state’s response to protests in Iran, a country already imposing sanctions over its nuclear program.

Tehran, for its part, said on Sunday it had summoned the British ambassador to protest what it called an “invitation to riot” by the London-based Farsi language media and the Norwegian envoy over the parliament speaker’s “unconstructive comments” about the protests.

The United States imposed sanctions on vice squads last week, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday that his own country would follow suit as part of a sanctions package “against dozens of individuals and entities.”

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.)

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