Death toll rises in Iran as Mahsa Amini protests continue for 10th night | Iran

Iranians took to the streets for the 10th straight night to protest the death of Mahsa Amini in defiance of a court warning.

Officially, at least 41 people have died since the unrest began, mostly protesters but including members of the security forces, but sources say the real figure is higher.

The Norwegian group Iran Human Rights (IHR) said on Sunday evening that the death toll was at least 57, but noted that ongoing internet blackouts were making it increasingly difficult to confirm deaths in a context where protests led by women have spread to dozens. towns.

Footage released by IHR showed protesters in the streets of Tehran shouting “death to the dictator”, supposedly after dark on Sunday.

Echoing a warning issued the day before by President Ebrahim Raisi, the head of the judiciary, Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei, “stressed on Sunday the need for decisive action without leniency” against the main instigators of the “riots”, said the Mizan Online site of the judiciary.

Hundreds of protesters, reform activists and journalists have been arrested amid mostly late-night protests since unrest first erupted following the death of 22-year-old Amini in police custody on 16 september. Amini was detained by the vice squad for not wearing the hijab properly.

The biggest protests in Iran in nearly three years have seen security forces fire live ammunition, while protesters threw rocks, torched police cars and torched public buildings.

Some protesters took off and burned their hijabs at rallies and cut their hair, some dancing near large bonfires to the applause of crowds who chanted “zan, zendegi, azadi” or “woman, life, freedom”.

Web monitor NetBlocks noted “power outages” and “widespread internet platform restrictions”, with WhatsApp, Instagram and Skype having already been blocked. This followed older bans on Facebook, Twitter, TikTok and Telegram.

Speaking on behalf of the European Union, its foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, said “the widespread and disproportionate use of force against non-violent protesters is unjustifiable and unacceptable”. He condemned internet restrictions as “flagrantly violating freedom of expression”.

Iran summoned the British and Norwegian ambassadors for what it said was interference and hostile media coverage, while Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian also criticized US support for “rioters”.

On Sunday, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said the United States had taken “tangible steps” to sanction the morality police.

The UK has been blamed for the “unfriendly character” of London-based Farsi media. The UK Foreign Office said it stood up for media freedom and condemned Iran’s “crackdown on protesters, journalists and internet freedom”.

The Norwegian envoy was summoned to explain the “interventionist stance” of the speaker of his parliament, Masud Gharahkhani, born in Tehran, who expressed his support for the protesters.

“If my parents hadn’t made the choice to flee in 1987, I would have been one of those fighting in the streets with my life at stake,” Gharahkhani tweeted Sunday.

Pro-government rallies also took place on Sunday, with the main event taking place in central Tehran.

But one of the main teachers’ unions on Sunday called on teachers and students to stage a nationwide strike on Monday and Wednesday.

Overseas protests have taken place in solidarity with Iranian women in Athens, Berlin, Brussels, Istanbul, Madrid, New York and Paris, among other cities.

Oscar-winning Iranian director Asghar Farhadi called on activists and artists around the world to support the protesters, who he said were “seeking simple but basic rights that the state has denied them for years.”

“I deeply respect their struggle for freedom and the right to choose their own destiny despite all the brutality they are subjected to,” Farhadi said in an Instagram post.

With Agence France-Presse and Reuters

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