Clashes erupted across Iran on Wednesday as thousands of people flocked to the funeral of Mahsa Amini in Saqqez, a city in Kurdistan province, to mark 40 days since her death, Iran’s semi-official state news agency ISNA said.
Protests have spread across the Islamic Republic following the death of a 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish woman, who died on September 16 after being arrested by “morality police” and taken to a “re-education center” for alleged non-compliance. conservative country dress.
Nationwide protests were held in Iran on Tuesday to mark 40 days since Amini’s death, an important day of mourning in Iranian and Islamic tradition.
The unrest at the Shahcheragh shrine in the southern Iranian city of Shiraz came on the same day that at least 15 people were killed and 10 others injured, according to state news agency IRNA. It is unclear whether Wednesday’s attack was linked to the protests.
ISNA said security forces “did not prevent” protesters from visiting Amini’s grave in Saqqez, also his hometown, but the clashes reportedly broke out after people left the site.
“There were no clashes between the mourners and the police at the burial site, most of them were singing Kurdish slogans, some moved towards the city with the intention of fighting, one of them raised the Kurdish flag,” ISNA said.
In videos shared on social media, crowds of people and lines of cars are seen on the way to the Aichi cemetery in Saqqez, where Amini is buried. Groups of people in the videos can be heard chanting “women, life, freedom” and “death to this child-killing regime”.
Other videos show plumes of smoke rising from various fires on the streets of another nearby neighborhood. Gunshots can be heard in the background as protesters march through the streets.
Video shared by the Kurdish rights group Hengaw and verified by CNN shows security forces deployed in large numbers in Saqqez late Tuesday after activists called for protests across the country to mark 40 days since Amini’s death.
Internet watchdog Netblocks said on Twitter that there had been a near-total internet outage in Iran’s Kurdistan province and Sanandaj since Wednesday morning. State news agency ISNA reported that after “scattered demonstrations and clashes”, the internet was “cut in the city of Saqqez due to security concerns”.
There is no law in Iran that says the government cannot ban religious ceremonies if the state believes there are security concerns.
The government has in the past banned and cracked down on religious ceremonies citing security reasons and in other cases has appealed to families not to hold public mourning ceremonies.
Iran’s state media IRNA said Amini’s family issued a statement Wednesday saying they would not mark his killing.
Kurdish rights group Hengaw said the Amini family was under “great pressure” from security forces to write the statement, adding that they had threatened to arrest Amini’s brother if the procession took place.
Large protests erupted in Tehran on Wednesday, where security forces fired tear gas at protesters mourning Amini’s death.
Videos posted on social media showed protesters burning trash cans and throwing stones. Security forces could be seen firing pellet guns.
A group of protesters in Tehran were seen as doctors and dentists chanting “freedom, freedom, freedom!” singing, according to another video posted on social networks. Another video shows tear gas being fired in their direction.
Iran’s Islamic Revolution Corps [IRGC] anti-riot units were seen as protests intensified in Tehran on Wednesday, according to video posted on social media.
Similar units fired on a group of protesting doctors in Tehran earlier this morning, forcing the crowd to disperse, according to the person who took the video. It is not clear in the video what he was shooting.
There have also been protests at universities across the country at Ferdowsi University in Mashhad; Azad University of Karaj; Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University of Tehran; and Azad University – Kerman.
Tehran’s Sharif University of Technology announced on Wednesday that classes for new students “will continue to be held virtually until further notice” due to “the persistence of some problems and the lack of a peaceful environment,” IRNA reported on Wednesday.
As the protests continue, international leaders have condemned Iran’s crackdown on peaceful protesters. The US imposed a raft of new sanctions on Wednesday against Iranian officials involved in the ongoing crackdown.
Those targeted for sanctions include the commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ intelligence agency and the IRGC’s deputy commander for operations, as well as two officials in Sistan and Baluchistan province, “the site of some of the worst violence in recent protests.” ”, stated the Department of Finance in a statement.
United Nations experts called for an independent international investigation into the crackdown.
Experts said in a statement on Wednesday that “an alarming number of protesters have already been arrested and killed, many of them children, women and the elderly,” as they called on the government to tell the police to stop overusing and using them. deadly force