October 4, 2022

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Iranian protesters burn police stations as unrest spreads over woman’s death

Iranian protesters burn police stations as unrest spreads over woman's death

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  • Reports of security forces being attacked
  • A Kurdish woman did this after being detained by the morality police
  • The Iranian government has vowed to investigate her death

DUBAI (Reuters) – Protesters in Tehran and other Iranian cities set police stations and vehicles on fire on Thursday as unrest intensified over the death of a woman detained by morality police, and with reports that security forces had come under attack.

Mahsa Amini, 22, died last week after she was arrested in Tehran for wearing “inappropriate clothing”. She fell into a coma while in detention. The authorities said they would open an investigation into the cause of her death.

The incident sparked outrage among residents and led to the worst protests in the Islamic Republic since 2019. Most of them were concentrated in Iran’s Kurdish-populated northwest, but spread to the capital and at least 50 cities and towns across the country, where police used force to disperse. protesters.

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Two Iranian semi-official news agencies reported on Thursday that a member of a pro-government Iranian paramilitary organization, the Basij, was stabbed to death in the northeastern city of Mashhad on Wednesday.

The Tasnim and Fares news agency reports about the stabbing incident appeared on Telegram because their websites were out of reach. There was no official confirmation of death.

Tasnim also said that another member of the Basij was killed on Wednesday in Qazvin city as a result of being shot by “rioters and gangs”, bringing the total number of security force personnel killed in the unrest to four.

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A video posted on the Twitter account 1500tasvir, in the northeast of the country, showed protesters chanting “We will die, we will die but we will bring Iran back” near a police station that was set on fire. The 1500tasvir account focuses on the protests in Iran and has around 100,000 followers.

Reuters was unable to verify the footage.

Another police station in Tehran was on fire as unrest spread from Kurdistan, Amini’s hometown.

Amini’s death sparked outrage across the Islamic Republic over issues including restrictions on personal liberties – including strict dress codes for women – and an economy reeling from sanctions.

Iran’s clerical rulers fear a revival of the 2019 protests that erupted over high gasoline prices, the bloodiest in the Islamic Republic’s history. Reuters reported that 1,500 were killed.

This week, protesters also expressed their anger at Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. A crowd was seen chanting in Tehran “Mojtaba, I hope you die and not become the supreme leader,” referring to Khamenei’s son, who some believe may succeed his father at the head of Iran’s political establishment.

Reuters was unable to verify the video.

Reports by the Hengau Kurdish human rights organization, which Reuters could not verify, said the death toll in Kurdish areas had risen to 12 as of Wednesday. Iranian officials denied that security forces had killed protesters, citing the possibility that they had been shot at by armed opponents.

With the protests showing no sign of easing, authorities have restricted internet access, according to accounts by Hengaw, residents and the NetBlocks internet closure monitor.

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Women played a prominent role in the protests, waving and burning veils, and some cutting their hair in public.

In northern Iran, mobs armed with batons and stones attacked two members of the security forces on a motorbike as a cheering crowd appeared in a video that Reuters could not verify.

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Reporting by Dubai office; Written by Michael Georgi. Editing by Raisa Kasulowski and Mark Heinrich

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.