Iranian protesters chant from buildings amid crackdown
PTI, September 30, 2022, 08:40 IST
Representative image (credit: AP)
Dubai: Anti-Iranian government protesters chanted from windows and rooftops in parts of Tehran early Thursday, but no street demonstrations were reported in the country’s capital, where authorities have waged a fierce crackdown in recent days.
It was not immediately clear whether this signaled a drop in nationwide protests over the death earlier this month of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was detained by vice squad for allegedly wearing a headscarf too loosely. Mandatory Islamic. His death sparked a wave of anger against the ruling clerics.
Iranian media have sporadically covered the protests since they began. The fact that they reported no new protests in Tehran could mean that there were none or that the authorities have tightened media restrictions. There was also no sign of burnt bins or rubble on the streets of central Tehran early Thursday, as there had been after nightly street protests.
Tehran Provincial Governor Mohsen Mansouri was quoted by state media as saying protests in the capital had ended and security had been restored. But you could hear people chanting “Death to the dictator” from buildings, where it is more difficult for the police to arrest them.
It was not immediately clear how big the protests were elsewhere in the country. Students continued to protest on some university campuses, including Shiraz University in the south.
Authorities continue to block access to WhatsApp and Instagram, the social media services used by protesters to organize and share information. They are also heavily restricting internet access in the afternoon to prevent protests from forming.
Iranian police have clashed with protesters in dozens of cities over the past 12 days.
State television reported that at least 41 protesters and police have been killed since the protests began on September 17. An Associated Press tally of official statements by authorities put at least 14 people dead, with more than 1,500 protesters arrested.
Norway advised against all unnecessary travel to Iran and urged its citizens inside the country to “exercise caution and avoid demonstrations and large crowds”. Authorities have meanwhile arrested Elahe Mohammadi, a journalist who reported on Amini’s funeral earlier this month in the Kurdish town of Saqez. She is one of many journalists detained since Amini’s death.
Police say Amini died of a heart attack after being detained by vice squad and was not abused. Her family questioned this account, saying other inmates told them she had been severely beaten and not allowed to see her body.
In a speech on Wednesday evening, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi again promised to investigate his death, but said authorities would not tolerate any threats to public safety.
In death, Amini became an icon of resistance to Iran’s theocracy, which forces women to dress conservatively and cover their hair in public. Authorities have faced waves of protests in recent years, mostly linked to a long-running economic crisis made worse by international sanctions.
Shirin Ebadi, an Iranian activist who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003, said the latest protests were different from previous ones, telling German broadcaster Deutsche Welle that “there is a possibility of toppling the regime”. . “Unlike previous protests, people are not passive. When they are beaten by the security forces, they react by also beating the security forces,” said Ebadi, who fled the country in 2009 during a previous crackdown on dissent.
She called on the international community to withdraw ambassadors from Iran and impose sanctions on those who killed protesters.
Iranian leaders have blamed the protests on unnamed foreign entities they say are trying to foment unrest. The Foreign Ministry summoned the French charge d’affaires on Thursday, accusing French officials of interfering in Iran’s internal affairs by expressing support for the protests, according to Iran’s IRNA news agency.
But even Jomhouri Eslami, a radical newspaper, acknowledged in an editorial that the protests reflected genuine anger.
“As for the end of the protests, the authorities should not think that the discontent is over and will not grow. The current situation is like embers under the ashes, which can ignite again.