Demonstrators in southeastern Iran gather to mourn the deaths of dozens amid anti-government protests that have swept across the country, one of the most serious challenges to the establishment of the clergy in decades. They clashed with the security forces.
Security forces cracked down on demonstrations in Sistan-Baltistan, killing more than 82 people on Friday, September 30, human rights groups say. The province is one of Iran’s largest and poorest provinces and is home to a Sunni Muslim minority. In recent days, hundreds of people have gathered in the provincial capital, Zahedan, to mark the 40th anniversary of what protesters called “Bloody Friday,” an important period of Muslim mourning.
Protesters gathered in front of Zahedan’s main mosque, chanting “death to Khamenei”, the country’s supreme leader, to protect the Islamic Republic from domestic opposition, according to social media footage reviewed by Storyful. The militia organization “Death to the Basij” was advocating. Owned by News Corp,
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Some protesters were heard chanting, “Whoever kills my brother, I’ll kill him.” .
At least 16 people died last week in Hash, another city in Sistan-Baltistan province, according to Iran Human Rights, an Oslo-based watchdog. Iranian human rights groups said this week that more than 300 people, including about 40 minors, have died across the country since protests erupted in September.
Now, a commemoration is taking place at protests sparked by the Sept. 16 death in police custody of Martha Amini, a young woman who was arrested on suspicion of violating Iran’s strict Islamic dress code. We are gaining new momentum.
Its failure to suppress protesters across the country shows that the movement remains a tough challenge to Iran’s leadership. Initially revolving around calls to abolish the mandatory Islamic veil, or hijab, the movement has morphed into a call to overthrow Islamic leadership.
Some parts of the country, such as Amini’s home state of Western Kurdistan, have been rallying with protesters on an almost daily basis. Elsewhere, such as the capital Tehran, meetings are held regularly several times a week, often in or around universities.
Last week, 227 of the 290 members of Iran’s parliament called on the country’s judiciary to execute the protesters. Iran’s Chief Justice Golamhossein Mohseni Ejay has called on judges to strengthen and speed up sentences for the hundreds of protesters who have been arrested.
Authorities have attempted to intimidate Iranians from attending rallies by deploying plainclothes police officers in the crowd to catch and arrest protesters.
A 32-year-old protester in Tehran said Friday he had been arrested twice by plainclothes security forces and pulled away from the crowd. Her police officers kicked her in the face and body the first time she was detained and interrogated. Because no compromising material was found in her phone, she was released. Her jail was full the second time around, so she was released earlier.
“They are very dangerous,” she said, hoarsely about the plainclothes police. “But that alone is not enough to stop our protests.”
The protests in Sistan-Baluchistan are of a different nature than the rallies elsewhere in the country. The province is home to a minority Sunni and separatist movement that Tehran’s government considers a terrorist organization. Separatist slogans were rarely seen at recent rallies in the state, which faces a tougher crackdown than elsewhere, activists say.
The protests in Sistan-Baluchistan are also composed almost exclusively of men, compared to other parts of Iran where women are at the forefront. Women’s rights activists in the state, where weekly Friday protests erupt from mosques, have taken to social media to protest the lack of women at the rally.
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