Iran: night of violence, clashes and repression after 40 days of the death of Mahsa Amini

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  • The Persian country has experienced a day of massive protests and a strong state response a month and a half after the murder of the young woman at the hands of the morality police

  • At least two people have died during the harsh demonstrations this Wednesday night and Thursday morning, as confirmed by a human rights organization

Iran: night of violence, clashes and repression after 40 days of the death of Mahsa Amini

It is night and, in the video, recorded at dawn this Thursday in TehranHundreds of people shout in unison: “Death to the dictator! Death to the dictator!” the demonstrators cry out. The protest does not last long: after a while, a group of motorcycles approaches the area. They set up basijs, members of a paramilitary organization loyal to the Government of Iran. Basijs are generally ex-convicts ideologically loyal to the regime. 

Some basijs get out of their vehicles, ready to pummel anything in front of them. Others, from the motorcycles, raise their rifles, loaded with flash grenades and canisters of pepper spray. The protesters run; explosions echo. The motorcycles chase the stragglers.

With this scene —and dozens more, all similar— Iranian social networks have been filled this Thursday morning after a night of violent protests and confrontationsagainst authorities throughout the country. This Wednesday marked the 40 days since the death of Mahsa Amini, the young Kurdish-Iranian woman. who died allegedly at the hands of the country's morality police after being arrested for wearing the Islamic veil “incorrectly”. As confirmed by the human rights organization HengawTwo young people have died tonight due to the police repression of the protests. Both were young Kurds from the region where the young Amini came from.

As the Persian tradition marks, the relatives and close friends of a deceased meet 40 days after the death of that person to remember the deceased. Thousands of people traveled this Wednesday to the city of Saqqez to honor Amini at her grave.

That demonstration was repressed with tear gas and live fire. After the one in Saqqez, the protests spread throughout the country well into the night. “After a few nights of silence, this morning the sounds of gunfire were everywhere,” an anonymous resident of the Kurdish province told the Iranian media outlet. dissident IranWire, with reporters inside Iran but based in Norway.

In another video dated this Wednesday, you can see how a protester throws himself —fist to the front— against a basij who, with his shotgun already loaded, is about to fire into the air. The uptick in violence this Wednesday and Thursday comes after a couple of weeks in which the demonstrations had lost fuel and ferocityin the streets, and it was the high school and university students who were leading the protest movement.

In fact, the Islamic State (IS) took advantage of ; the date to attack a Shia shrine in the city of Shiraz. In the attack, carried out by three men armed with rifles, 15 people died, including children. According to the Iranian government, two of the assailants were killed, while the third escaped. of the place. 

A Spaniard, among the detainees

According to counts by human rights organizations, about 250 people–some thirty of them, minors— They would have died due to the police repression against the protests since the death of Mahsa Amini last September 16. There are also thousands of detainees, among whom is the Spanish traveler Santiago Sánchez, 41 years old, who disappeared from prison. three weeks ago during his trip from Spain to Qatar, where he will start his campaign. The World Cup will take place at the end of November.

According to the Iranian authorities, Sánchez was arrested on October 2 for having visited the tomb of Amini in Saqqez, the same day he entered the city. to Iran from Iraqi Kurdistan.