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Protests across Iran enter third week

Iranians continue their protests more than two weeks after the funeral of Mahsa Amini, with people also rallying in solidarity in a number of Western cities.

October 2, 2022
By AAP
2 October 2022

Protesters have allied across Iran and strikes were reported throughout the country’s Kurdish region as demonstrations ignited by the death of a woman in police custody entered their third week.

The protests, sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini, a 22-year-old from Iranian Kurdistan, have spiralled into the biggest show of opposition to Iran’s clerical authorities since 2019, with dozens killed in unrest across the country.

People on Saturday also demonstrated in London, Rome, Madrid, Washington, Sydney and other Western cities in solidarity with Iranian protesters, holding pictures of Amini, who died three days after being arrested by the Islamic Republic’s morality police for “unsuitable attire”.

In Iran, social media posts showed rallies in large cities including Tehran, Isfahan, Rasht and Shiraz.

In Tehran’s traditional business district of Bazaar, anti-government protesters chanted “We will be killed one by one if we don’t unite”, while elsewhere they blocked a main road with a fence torn from the central reservation, videos shared by the widely followed Tavsir1500 Twitter account showed.

Students also demonstrated at numerous universities. At Tehran University, dozens were detained, Tavsir1500 said. The semi-official Fars news agency said some protesters were arrested in a square near the university.

A video posted on social media appeared to show protesters giving flowers to members of the riot police in Tehran, a recreation of Iranians winning over the military to their side in the 1979 Islamic revolution.

Reuters could not verify the social media reports.

The protests began at Amini’s funeral on September 17 and spread to Iran’s 31 provinces, with all layers of society, including ethnic and religious minorities, taking part and many demanding Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s downfall.

Amnesty International has said a government crackdown on demonstrations has led to the death of at least 52 people, with hundreds injured. Rights groups say dozens of activists, students and artists have been detained.

In London, about 2500 people, many of them Iranians, staged a noisy protest in Trafalgar Square. In Paris, a crowd of several dozen people held Iranian flags and pictures of victims who have died in the protests. In Madrid, an Iranian woman cut her hair during a protest attended by dozens of people, echoing demonstrations in Iran where women have also been waving and burning their veils during demonstrations.

Iranian authorities say many members of the security forces have been killed, accusing the United States of exploiting the unrest to try to destabilise Iran.

The Revolutionary Guards said four members of its forces and the volunteer Basij militia were killed on Friday in attacks in Zahedan, capital of the southeastern Sistan-Baluchistan province.

State television had said on Friday that 19 people, including members of the security forces, had been killed in Zahedan after unidentified individuals opened fire on a police station, prompting security forces to return fire.

Authorities blamed a separatist group from the Baluchi minority for starting the shootout in Zahedan. State media said two prominent militants linked to that group had been killed.

Protests have been particularly intense in Iran’s Kurdistan region, where authorities have previously put down unrest by the Kurdish minority numbering up to 10 million.

Shops and businesses were on strike in 20 northwestern cities and towns in protest against attacks on Iraq-based armed Kurdish opposition parties by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, the Kurdish rights group Hengaw reported.

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