Tehran was the scene of fresh angry demonstrations on Friday evening, a week after the death of a young woman arrested by morality police, whose crackdown killed at least 17 people.
Videos verified by AFP on social media showed a man in military uniform firing on protesters in the Shahre Ray neighborhood south of the Iranian capital.
Still other footage shows protesters running down a street outside the Park Royal Hotel in northern Tehran, with scenes of chaos and scenes of fire in several local streets. At least eight scenes of undetermined origin are heard.
Mahza Amini, 22, was arrested in Tehran on September 13 by morality police in charge of enforcing the Islamic Republic’s dress code for “wearing inappropriate clothing”. His death, three days later in hospital, led to protests in major Iranian cities, including the capital Tehran.
State media reported Thursday that 17 people had died in the protests. But the number could be much higher, as the Oslo-based opposition NGO Iran Human Rights (IHR) reported on Friday that at least 50 people had died in security forces’ crackdown on protests. 80 cities in the last week.
– Clashes and Arrests –
In several Iranian cities, demonstrators clashed with security forces, torched police vehicles and chanted anti-government slogans, media and activists reported.
Iranian media reported that police arrested several unidentified people. Among them were activist Majid Tavagoli and journalist Nilubar Hamedi, according to their entourages.
The most viral pictures on social media are the burning of Iranian women wearing headscarves. In Iran, women must cover their hair and are not allowed to wear short or tight coats.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi on Thursday promised an investigation into the young woman’s death, while the medical examiner noted there had been no abuse by police, which protesters disputed.
Faced with protesters described as “counter-revolutionaries”, “rioters” or “planners”, the authorities retaliated by organizing their own demonstrations after Friday prayers.
At the invitation of an organization responsible for organizing official events, thousands of people marched in several cities in Iran, especially Tehran, Qom (north) or Isfahan (center).
– Website –
In Tehran, hundreds of people, including women wearing chadors, demonstrated with flags of the Islamic Republic, signs of support and thanks to police, state television reported.
Slogans such as “Death to conspirators”, “US policy to support end of veil” were heard.
Praising the “efforts and sacrifices of the police”, the Islamic Republic’s ideological army, the Revolutionary Guards, vowed that the latest “conspiracy by the enemy” would be “defeated”.
Authorities announced Thursday that five members of the police force had died.
As NGOs abroad condemned the “brutal” crackdown on protests in Iran, internet connections were severely disrupted on Friday due to a ban on WhatsApp and Instagram, while Washington announced measures to “support Iranians’ free exchange of information.”
On Friday, Washington announced the lifting of some restrictions on trade with Iran, allowing technology companies to provide platforms and services that allow Iranians to access the Internet.
The announcement comes days after SpaceX owner Elon Musk announced that he would seek a waiver from the US administration on sanctions against Iran to provide Internet connectivity services via a constellation of Starlink satellites.
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said the new measures would help counter the Iranian government’s efforts to monitor and censor its citizens. The Iranian government is afraid of its own people,” he said.
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