Gunshots were fired when Iranian security forces met rallies over Mahsa Amini’s murder on Wednesday in a crackdown that rights organizations believe has already claimed at least 108 lives, many minors.
In footage provided by two human rights organizations headquartered in Norway, gunfire can be heard cutting off the cries of protesters in the towns of Isfahan and Karaj and Amini’s hometown Saqez.
In a video that AFP authenticated, female students who had brazenly removed their required hijabs screamed, “Death to the tyrant,” as they marched along a street in Tehran.
Shots were heard in Saqez, according to the Kurdish rights organization Hengaw, and in Isfahan during the “nationwide rallies and strikes,” according to Iran Human Rights (IHR), in a video tweeted. Later, “the security forces departed.”
Amini, 22, passed away on September 16 after going into a coma after being detained by Tehran’s renowned morality police for allegedly breaking the Islamic Republic’s strict clothing code for women.
Since then, the worst wave of social unrest to hit Iran in over three years has seen young women, university students, and even schoolgirls remove their hijabs and combat with security forces.
According to rights organizations, at least 28 minors have been slain, and hundreds more have been imprisoned and kept in adult jails.
Particularly Sanandaj in Amini’s native Kurdistan’s western region has seen deadly turmoil, as has Zahedan in Iran’s far southeast, where on September 30, protests broke out after the alleged rape of a young girl by a police commander.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, once again accused Iran’s “adversaries” of inciting “street disturbances” on Wednesday.
“The enemy’s operations, such as propaganda, attempting to influence minds, generating enthusiasm, promoting, and even training the manufacturing of incendiary devices,” he says.
Several rallies were recorded by the ISNA news agency, including one at Tehran University when police intervened “to restore order, without resorting to violence.”
Fears of a “bloody crackdown.”
Tehran-based activists urged demonstrators to show up “in sympathy with the people of Sanandaj and the brave people of Zahedan.”
“We do not want onlookers. But, in an IHR film seen by AFP and authenticated by them, a group of mostly young ladies chanted, “Come and join us,” outside Tehran’s Azad University.
A photograph acquired by AFP revealed that the protest phrase “Woman, Life, Freedom” had been spray painted on the wall of the old US embassy before being covered up. The embassy had been abandoned after the 1979 Islamic Revolution and the ensuing hostage crisis.
The mood is both anxious and exhilarating, a guy who wished to remain anonymous told the BBC. This time, people are more optimistic, and we hope a significant shift is just around the corner. This time, I don’t believe people are ready to quit.
“Almost every night, you may hear some type of demonstration somewhere. That makes me feel very, extremely lovely.
IHR said that at least 108 people had been slain by security forces so far, and at least 93 more have been killed in Zahedan while announcing an “imminent violent crackdown” in Kurdistan.
Additionally, it said that employees at the petrochemical plants in Bushehr, Abadan, and the southwest’s Asalouyeh had joined protest strikes this week.
Iran has begun a campaign of mass arrests as part of its escalating crackdown, and it has also restricted access to social media sites like Instagram and WhatsApp.
EU nations agreed upon punitive actions against Tehran on Wednesday.
Ursula von der Leyen, the head of the European Commission, said it was “time to prosecute those guilty” in Iran “for the mistreatment of women.” At the same time, French President Emmanuel Macron supported the demonstrators.
The Children’s Rights Protection Society in Tehran, which recorded the deaths of 28 children, denounced the abuse of children by security personnel.
It criticized “families not being informed of the location of their children, proceedings going forward without attorneys, and a paucity of children’s judges and police.”
On October 5, Ali Fadavi, the deputy commander of the Revolutionary Guards, informed Iranian media that the average age of the prisoners from several of the most recent rallies was 15.
The foreign minister of Canada criticized Iran on Twitter for murdering young protestors.
Canada, according to Melanie Joly, “condemns the Iranian regime’s persistent use of violence against demonstrators, which has led to the killing of people, particularly children.” We demand an end to the continuous arbitrary detention and abuse of protesters.
Around 300 youngsters between the ages of 12 and 19 were reportedly detained by the police, some of whom were housed in detention facilities for adult drug offenders, according to human rights attorney Hassan Raisi.
According to Iran’s court, only in the provinces of Tehran and Hormozgan, more than 100 individuals have been accused.
According to an official Iranian forensic examination, Amini had not been beaten as claimed but had instead passed away from a chronic ailment.
Her parents have refuted this and launched a lawsuit against the participating police officers. However, according to an Iraqi relative, she died due to “a severe strike to the head.”