41 Dead In Iran As Protesters Raise ‘Death To The Dictator’ Slogans

New Delhi: The protests in Iran continued for a tenth consecutive day on Sunday as protesters defied warning from the judiciary and raised voices against the death of young Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini in morality police custody. Sharing a similar sentiment as President Ebrahim Raisi, judiciary chief Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei on Sunday “emphasised the need for decisive action without leniency” against the core instigators of the “riots”, the judiciary’s Mizan Online website said.

Demonstrators, Reformists & Journalists Arrested

The violent unrest in Iran left at least 41 dead including majorly protesters and members of the Islamic republic’s security forces, according to an official toll as quoted by the news agency AFP. The real figure is higher if other sources are to be believed, the agency mentioned. Oslo-based group Iran Human Rights (IHR) on Sunday evening said the toll touched almost 57, but it was becoming difficult to confirm fatalities owing to the ongoing internet blackouts.

ALSO READ: Mahsa Amini Death Will Be ‘Steadfastly’ Probed, Iran President Raisi Says In US As Protests Spread Back Home

Hundreds of demonstrators, reformist activists, and journalists have been arrested since unrest first erupted after Amini’s death on September 16.

The 22-year-old girl, whose Kurdish first name was Jhina, was detained three days before that for allegedly breaching the rules that mandate tightly-fitted hijab head coverings. Images circulated by IHR showed that protesters on the streets of Tehran are raising “death to the dictator” slogans, purportedly after nightfall on Sunday, reported AFP.

It is seen as the largest protest in almost three years in the nation with security forces firing live rounds and birdshot, rights groups charge. Protesters have been hurling rocks, torched police cars, and set ablaze state buildings.

Iranian women also joined the protest where they removed and burnt their hijabs in the rallies and cut off their hair, some dancing near large bonfires to the applause of crowds chanting “zan, zendegi, azadi” or “woman, life, freedom”.

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

Protests Spread Out In Other Parts Of The World

Protests abroad have been held in solidarity with Iranian women in Athens, Berlin, Brussels, Istanbul, Madrid, New York and Paris, among other cities. EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell deplored the security forces’ response to the unrest late Sunday as “disproportionate… unjustifiable and unacceptable”.

Iran’s Stance On The Protests

Iran, ruled by supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, faces US economic sanctions over its nuclear programme and has blamed “foreign plots” for the unrest.

The foreign ministry had summoned Britain’s ambassador over what it described as an “invitation to riots” by Farsi-speaking media based in London, and Norway’s envoy over “unconstructive comments” made by his country’s parliament speaker.

Foreign ministry spokesman Hossein Amir-Abdollahian condemned “the US interventionist approach in the affairs of Iran… including its provocative actions in supporting the rioters”.

Apart from that large rallies in defence of the hijab and conservative values have also been organisted. Pro-government rallies have been conducted with the main event in Enghelab (Revolution) Square in central Tehran, where demonstrators voiced support for mandatory hijab laws. “Martyrs died so that this hijab will be on our head,” told 28-year-old demonstrator Nafiseh to AFP saying she was opposed to making the wearing of the hijab voluntary.