Dhe protests in Iran after the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was arrested by the vice squad, are now in their third week. Despite violent crackdowns by the security forces, which activists say have claimed the lives of at least 83 people, protests continued in several cities across the country on Thursday night. Meanwhile, Tehran continued to take action against supporters from culture, journalism and sport.
The ongoing protests in Iran were triggered by the death of Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini on September 16. she was in Tehran arrested by the Morality Police, apparently for not wearing the Islamic headscarf according to the rules. According to activists, she is said to have been beaten by the police and died as a result.
“Woman, life and freedom,” chanted the demonstrators on Thursday evening in Sanandaj, the capital of Amini’s home province of Kurdistan, according to a video posted by the Iran Wire news portal on Twitter. Crowds were seen in cities across the country “chanting slogans and confronting security forces,” the site, run by exiled Iranian journalists, reported.
“Death to the Dictator”
In the holy city of Mashhad in the north-east of the country, security forces clashed with protesters who threw stones and shouted, “We will kill whoever killed our sister!” In the north-west city of Ardabil, bareheaded women shouted, according to a report by the London-based TV channel Iran International, “Death to the Dictator”.
According to the latest reports from the Iranian news agency Fars, around 60 people have been killed in the protests so far. The human rights organization Iran Human Rights (IHR), based in Oslo, has now counted at least 83 dead.
The non-governmental organization Amnesty International on Friday accused Iran of deliberately using deadly force to suppress the ongoing protests. According to an official document leaked to Amnesty, the commander of the armed forces in Masandaran province instructed his subordinates to “act mercilessly, even to the point of causing death, against any kind of riots by rioters and anti-revolutionaries,” the organization said.
Amnesty warns against international inaction
Amnesty warned that without international action, more people risked imprisonment or death. The organization said it was able to confirm the deaths of 52 people during the protests, but the total number is likely higher.
Iran says it has also arrested nine foreign nationals in connection with the protests. According to the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence on Friday, at least one German is among them. The nationals from Germany, Poland, Italy, France, the Netherlands, Sweden and other countries were arrested “on the spot” or were “involved in the unrest”.
Recently, Iran had also increased the pressure on celebrities and journalists. The Committee to Protect Journalists said it documented the arrest of at least 29 journalists. Iranian ex-soccer player Hossein Manahi was also arrested on Friday after supporting the protests in the online networks, according to a report by the state news agency IRNA.
The security forces also arrested the singer Shervin Hajipur, as several Persian exile media and the human rights group Article 19 reported. His song “Baraje” (“For”), compiled from Twitter posts about the protests, had been viewed millions of times on Instagram.
A woman was also arrested, whose photo of a visit to a restaurant without a hat was widely shared in the online media. In the picture, Donja Rad is eating with a friend in a Tehran restaurant – both without a veil. Her sister Dina said on Twitter that the security authorities had asked Donja to make “explanations”. She was arrested on Friday.
After not hearing from her for several hours, “Donja told me in a short phone call that she had been transferred to Ward 209 of Evin Prison,” her sister explained. This is a notorious part of a prison in Tehran that is believed to be run by the intelligence agency. The family is very concerned, she wrote.