New demonstrations have taken place in Iran to protest against the murder of participants in the protest movement sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini six weeks ago, according to NGOs and videos verified by AFP.
Since the death of this 22-year-old Iranian Kurd on September 16, the protest, led in particular by women, has not weakened. Mahsa Amini died three days after she was arrested in Tehran by morality police who accused her of breaking the Islamic Republic’s strict dress code.
To the initial slogan of “women, life, freedom” were added, over the course of demonstrations, however harshly repressed, slogans openly directed against the Islamic Republic founded in 1979.
The movement is fueled by anger at the number of people killed by law enforcement, who are struggling to quell it: the Oslo-based NGO Iran Human Rights (IHR) reports at least 160 dead, including twenty minors. More than a thousand people have been charged, some of whom face the death penalty, authorities said.
NGOs fear an acceleration of repression as tributes are paid at the end of the traditional 40-day mourning to the first dead, killed at the start of the movement.
On Wednesday, thousands of people had flocked to Saghez, the hometown of Mahsa Amini in the province of Kurdistan, for this end of mourning.
Incidents also broke out Thursday near Khorramabad (west) where a crowd had gathered at the grave of Nika Shahkarami, 16, who died 40 days earlier, according to verified videos.
“I will kill, I will kill, whoever killed my sister,” protesters chanted in a video released by HRANA, a US-based rights group.
– Shooting in Zahedan –
Other incidents occurred on Thursday after the burial of a 35-year-old protester, Ismail Mauludi, in Mahabad (west) where security forces opened fire and killed three people, according to the human rights group. Hengaw.
“Death to the dictator,” protesters shouted, targeting Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, as the Mahabad governor’s office burned down, according to footage from a verified video posted online.
Two other protesters died in Baneh (west), according to Hengaw.
A total of eight protesters in four provinces (Kurdistan, West Azerbaijan, Kermanshah and Lorestan) were killed between Wednesday evening and Thursday, Amnesty International said Thursday.
In addition, the city of Zahedan, in the province of Sistan-Baluchistan (south-east), one of the poorest in Iran, was affected by several days of violence sparked on September 30 during demonstrations against the rape of a young girl charged with a policeman, who caused at least 93 deaths according to the IHR.
Media close to the Iranian government had for their part described the clashes in Zahedan as a “terrorist incident” directed against a police station and having led to the death of at least eight members of the security forces.
Security forces fired on demonstrators in Zahedan on Friday, NGOs HRANA and IHR said, posting videos showing protesters fleeing after gunfire.
For its part, the Security Council of Sistan-Baluchistan denounced the “riots” in Zahedan, affirming that a “number of citizens and security forces were injured by bullets fired by unknown persons”.
Earlier, Iranian authorities sacked two senior security officials in Zahedan, including the police chief, after the publication of an investigation alleging ‘negligence on the part of certain officers’ leading to civilian deaths. “innocent”.
– Towards more repression? –
Analysts point out that the Iranian authorities have tried to stifle the protest by means other than violent repression, no doubt to avoid fueling popular anger.
“For now, they seem to be trying other techniques – arrests and intimidation, calibrated Internet shutdowns, murder of some protesters…”, Henry Rome, Iran specialist at the Washington Institute, told AFP. .
“I doubt that the security forces have ruled out carrying out a violent repression on a larger scale,” he nevertheless estimated.
“They may be calculating that more killings would encourage protesters rather than deter them; if that judgment changes, then the situation could probably become even more violent,” he added.
For his part, the director of IHR, Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam, urged the UN on Friday to “increase diplomatic pressure on Iran and to set up an investigation mechanism to judge those responsible” for the repression. “The risk of a massacre is real and the UN must ensure that this does not happen.”
For their part, Iranian leaders have continued to point fingers at Iran’s “enemies”.
In a statement, the Ministry of Intelligence and the Revolutionary Guards, the ideological army of Iran, on Friday accused the CIA, the American intelligence agency, and its “allies (…) of Great Britain , Israel and Saudi Arabia” to “consider” against the Islamic Republic.