Protests flared up in Iran for the eighth consecutive night over the death of a young woman arrested by ethics police, verified social media posts show, hours after the protests protests mobilized by the government.
At least 50 people have been killed by security forces during anti-government protests, the Iran Human Rights Organization, an organization based in Oslo, said – triple the official death toll of 17. , including 5 security staff.
The street violence, which IHR said has spread to 80 towns and cities, was triggered by the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old Kurdish youth who had been in a coma for three days after being taken by police officers. in Tehran detention.
Verified footage circulating on social media shows large crowds of protesters gathering in several neighborhoods of the capital Tehran after dark, just hours after the post-government protests. disbanded conflict.
Some confront armed riot police or militia.
Iran has imposed tough restrictions on Internet use to prevent protesters from gathering and to prevent the flow of images of the backlash from reaching the outside world.
– ‘Fear of others’ –
On Friday, the United States announced it was easing export restrictions on Iran to expand internet services, days after SpaceX owner Elon Musk said he would seek waivers from sanctions to provide services. its Starlink satellite service in the Islamic republic.
Foreign Minister Antony Blinken said the new measures would “help counter the Iranian government’s efforts to survey and censor its citizens”.
He added: “It is clear that the Iranian government is afraid of its people.
On Friday, thousands of people took to the streets in support of the hijab at government-backed protest rallies in Tehran and other cities.
“Major protests of the Iranian people condemning the masterminds and sacrifices against religion took place today,” said Iran’s Mehr news agency.
State television broadcast footage of pro-hijab protesters in central Tehran, many of them men but also women dressed in black.
– Deadly clash –
Amini died on September 16, three days after she was hospitalized following arrest by the ethics police, the unit responsible for enforcing the Islamic republic’s strict dress code for women.
Activists said she received a blow to the head while in custody but this was opposed by Iranian authorities, who have opened an investigation.
After she was declared dead, angry protests flared up and spread to major cities, including Isfahan, Mashhad, Shiraz and Tabriz as well as her home province of Kurdistan.
In the latest violence, protesters clashed with security forces on Friday night in the city of Bokan in West Azerbaijan province, said Hengaw, a second human rights group based in Oslo. This Kurdish organization’s report cannot be independently verified.
In the city of Babol, in northern Mazandaran province, protesters were seen setting fire to a large billboard depicting Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in video shared online.
Unverified footage emerged showing protesters burning a base of the fearsome Basij militia on Ferdowsi Road in downtown Terhan. It cannot be verified immediately.
Some of the women protesting defiantly removed their headscarves and burned them in bonfires or symbolically cut their hair in front of a cheering crowd, the video that went viral on social media showed.
– ‘Excessive bleeding’ –
State news agency IRNA reported that protesters threw stones at security forces, set police cars on fire and chanted anti-government slogans.
The New York-based Center for Human Rights of Iran (CHRI) said: “The government responded with live ammunition, cannonballs and tear gas.
Internet access has been restricted in what web monitoring NetBlocks calls a “curfew-style disruption model”.
“Online platforms remained restricted and connectivity was intermittent for many users and mobile internet was disrupted for the third day on Friday,” NetBlocks said.
Iran’s Fars news agency said the measures were taken in response to “actions carried out through these social networks by counter-revolutionaries against national security”.
President Ebrahim Raisi, at a news conference in New York, where he attended the United Nations General Assembly, said on Thursday: “We must distinguish between protesters and vandals”.
The unrest comes at a particularly sensitive time for the leadership, as Iran’s economy remains in crisis largely due to US sanctions over its nuclear program.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from an aggregated feed.)