Tehran was the scene Friday evening of new angry demonstrations after a week of protests sparked by the death of a young woman arrested by the morality police. The crackdown left at least fifty dead according to the NGO Iran Human Rights, 17 according to state media.
New demonstrations agitated Tehran on Friday evening September 23. They follow a week of protests, triggered by the death of a young woman arrested by the morality police for wearing her veil incorrectly. The crackdown left at least 17 dead, according to state media, fifty according to the NGO Iran Human Rights.
AFP-verified videos posted on social media show a man in a military uniform firing at protesters in the Shahre Rey region, south of the Iranian capital.
Still other footage shows protesters running outside the Park Royal hotel in northern Tehran, on a street with scenes of chaos and several localized street fires. At least eight shots of undetermined origin are heard.
Mahsa Amini, 22, was arrested on September 13 in Tehran for “wearing inappropriate clothes” by the morality police, responsible for enforcing the dress code of the Islamic Republic. His death, three days later in hospital, led to demonstrations in the main cities of Iran, including the capital Tehran.
Demonstrations in 80 cities
State media on Thursday reported the deaths of 17 people in the protests. But the toll is likely to be much higher, with the Oslo-based opposition NGO Iran Human Rights (IHR) reporting on Friday at least 50 dead in the security forces’ crackdown on protests which, according to this source, have taken place in approximately 80 cities over the past week.
In several Iranian cities, demonstrators clashed with security forces, burned police vehicles and chanted anti-government slogans, according to media and activists.
>> To read: Iran: “women no longer let themselves be done” in the face of growing repression by the morality police
Police arrested an unknown number of people, Iranian media reported. Among them are activist Majid Tavakoli and journalist Nilufar Hamedi, according to their entourage.
The most viral images on social networks are those where we see Iranian women burning their headscarves. In Iran, women must cover their hair and are not allowed to wear short or tight coats.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi promised Thursday an investigation into the death of the young woman, while specifying that the medical examiner had not reported abuse by the police, which the demonstrators dispute.
Faced with protesters, described as “counter-revolutionaries”, “rioters” or “plotters”, the authorities retaliated by organizing their own demonstrations after Friday prayers.
At the call of an organization responsible for organizing official events, thousands of people marched in several cities in Iran, including Tehran, Qom (north) or Isfahan (center).
Blocking WhatsApp and Instagram
In Tehran, hundreds of people including women in chadors demonstrated with flags of the Islamic Republic, signs of support and thanks to the police, according to state television.
“Death to the plotters”, “Advocating the end of the veil is American policy”, could be heard as slogans.
Praising the “efforts and sacrifices of the police”, the Revolutionary Guards, the ideological army of the Islamic Republic, for their part assured that the recent “conspiracy of the enemy” would be “doomed to failure”. .
The authorities had reported Thursday the death of five members of the police.
While NGOs abroad have denounced a “brutal” repression of demonstrations in Iran, internet connections were still very disrupted there on Friday, with the blocking of WhatsApp and Instagram, while Washington announced measures “to support the access of Iranians to the free flow of information”.
Washington announced the lifting of certain bans on trade with Iran, in order to allow technology companies to provide platforms and services allowing Iranians to access the internet.
This announcement comes a few days after the owner of SpaceX, Elon Musk, declared that he intended to request an exemption from sanctions against Iran from the American administration in order to offer internet connection services there via his constellation. of Starlink satellites.
The new measures “will help counter the Iranian government’s efforts to monitor and censor its citizens,” said US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. “The Iranian government is afraid of its own people,” he said.