HomeWorldProtests spread in Iran, death toll rises due to internet shutdown

Protests spread in Iran, death toll rises due to internet shutdown

Iranian officials and a Kurdish rights group on Wednesday described the rise in the death toll as anger Morality police took the death of the woman in custody Protests and new restrictions on social media were imposed on the fifth day.

Iranian media and a local prosecutor said four people were killed in the past two days, bringing the total death toll to eight, according to official sources, including a police member and a pro-government militia member.

Protests erupted last week over the custodial death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini from Iranian Kurdistan, who was arrested in Tehran for “inappropriate dress”.

The protests, which were centered in the Kurdish-populated northwestern regions of Iran but have spread to at least 50 cities and towns across the country, are the largest since a wave of demonstrations to hike gasoline prices in 2019. .

The report by Kurdish rights group Hangau, which Reuters could not verify, said 10 protesters had been killed. Three died on Wednesday, adding seven people the group said were killed by security forces.

Officials have denied that security forces killed the protesters, suggesting they may have been shot by armed dissidents.

With no signs of easing in the protests, authorities restricted access to the Internet, according to accounts from Hangau, residents and internet shutdown observatory Netblox.

internet curb

Activists expressed concerns that the internet shutdown echoed a government move ahead of action against the 2019 fuel price protests, when Reuters reported 1,500 people had been killed.

Netblocks and residents said access to Instagram had been restricted – the only major social media platform Iran generally allows and which has millions of users – and some mobile phone networks were shut down.

“Iran is now under the most severe internet sanctions since the November 2019 genocide,” Netblox said.

WhatsApp users said they could only send texts, not pictures, while Hango said access to the Internet had been cut in Kurdistan province – moves that would hinder video sharing from the region where authorities previously held Kurdistan. The unrest was suppressed by the minority.

The Meta platform, which owns Instagram and WhatsApp, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Amini’s death sparked anger in the Islamic republic on issues including freedoms and an economy reeling from sanctions. Women have played a major role in the protests, waving and burning their veils, some have shaved their hair in public.

Amini fell into a coma while being caught by morality police, which enforce strict rules in Iran that require women to cover their hair and wear loose-fitting clothing in public. He was cremated on Saturday.

Her father said that she did not have any health problems and that she had injured her legs while in custody. He blames the police for his death. Police have denied harming him.

A top aide to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei expressed condolences to Amini’s family this week, promising follow-up action on the matter and saying Khamenei was saddened by his death.

Activists said they feared another swift action. “We are concerned that as soon as the regime shuts down the internet, the world will forget about Iran – which is already happening,” one activist told Reuters.

Fars news agency, close to the Revolutionary Guards, played video accusing protesters of setting a mosque, an Islamic shrine and buses on fire, attacking a bank and pulling off a woman’s veil.

Such allegations against dissidents preceded the violent crackdown in 2009 following unrest protests.

“We are getting warnings from security organizations to end the protests or go to jail,” said an activist from northwestern Kurdistan province.

Fars said on Wednesday that a member of Basij, under the umbrella of the Revolutionary Guards, was killed in the northwestern city of Tabriz, while the official IRNA news agency said a “police assistant” died of injuries Tuesday in the southern city. of Shiraz.

Two people were killed on Tuesday in the riots, a prosecutor in Kermanshah said, blaming armed dissidents because the victims were killed with weapons not used by police. Meanwhile, the Kurdistan police chief earlier this week confirmed four deaths in the province, blaming “gangs” for their deaths.

Hangau said 450 people were injured in addition to the 10 protesters it said were killed in the protests, mainly in the northwest. Reuters could not independently confirm the casualty report.

Videos shared on social media showed protesters hurling symbols of the Islamic Republic and confronting security forces.
A man is shown scaling the front of the Town Hall in the northern city of Sari and tearing down an image of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who founded the Islamic Republic after the 1979 revolution.

In Tehran on Wednesday, hundreds of people shouted “death to the dictator” at Tehran University, a video shared by 1500tasvir showed. Reuters could not confirm the authenticity of the video.

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