Mahsa Amini riots see 75 dead as protests rage across the country

Death toll from Iranian riots ‘tops 75’ as protests continue to rage 11 days after Mahsa Amini died following arrest for not wearing her hijab properly

  • Protests have raged for 11 days following the death of Masha Amini in custody 
  • Thousands of women have burned their hijabs and cut their hair in the street  
  • Tehran crowds shouted ‘death to the dictator’ – leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei  
  • Iranian authorities have said they will not back down in the face of the protests  

More than 75 people have died in Iran over 11 nights of violent unrest sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini, 22, a human rights group has said.

Western nations have piled pressure on the Islamic republic to end the violence.

The semi-official Fars news agency reported on Tuesday that ‘around 60’ people had been killed – up from 41 on Saturday.

Demonstrators took to the streets again on Monday night, as they have every night since Amini’s death in custody on September 16 after she was arrested for breaching the country’s strict dress code. 

Tehran crowds have shouted ‘death to the dictator’, calling for the end of the more than three-decade rule of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, 83.

Women burn their headscarves in Kurdish-controlled north-east Syria. Protests have spread across the Middle East and the West since the death of Masha Amini

Amini died in custody after not observing Iran’s ultra-conservative dress code, causing outrage across the country and beyond 

Video shot from several floors above street level, purportedly in the city of Tabriz, showed people protesting to the sound of tear gas canisters being fired by security forces.

IHR said at least 76 people have been killed in the crackdown that has seen sweeping restrictions imposed on the internet, including blocks on Instagram and WhatsApp.

Officials said Monday they had made more than 1,200 arrests. Those taken into custody have included activists, lawyers and journalists as well as protesters.

In Semnan province, east of Tehran, 26 women were among 155 people arrested, Iran’s Fars news agency reported.

In Gilan province, a hotspot of protests on the Caspian Sea coast, the intelligence arm of the Revolutionary Guards detained 12 people, the Tasnim news agency said Tuesday.

Health Minister Bahram Einollahi, quoted by the official news agency IRNA, accused the protesters of destroying 72 ambulances.

Activists based abroad say the authorities have been using ambulances to transport security forces.

Women have been cutting their hair in protest to the Iranian government following Amini’s death 

The death of Masha Amini, 22, has sparked worldwide protests – but the Iranian government has vowed not to back down 

Images show women climbing on top of cars and tearing off their hijabs in defiance of the regime, with police nowhere to be seen 

IRNA said on Tuesday that 10 law enforcement officers have been killed by ‘rioters’ in recent days.

In Sanandaj, the capital of Amini’s western home province of Kurdistan, women climbed onto the roofs of cars to tear off their headscarves in front of cheering crowds, images published by Oslo-based group Iran Human Rights (IHR) showed, with police nowhere to be seen. 

The crackdown on the women-led protests has drawn condemnation from around the world.

On Tuesday, US think-tank Freedom House joined the chorus, calling for ‘other governments to stand with these courageous protesters and hold Iranian officials to account for their abuses’.

Tensions with Western powers grew as France on Monday issued its ‘strongest condemnation’ over the ‘violent repression’ by security forces. 

Germany also summoned its Iranian ambassador while Canada announced sanctions against the regime .

A day earlier, the European Union condemned the crackdown and Tehran said it had called in British and Norwegian envoys.

‘We call on the international community to decisively and unitedly take practical steps to stop the killing and torture of protesters,’ said IHR’s director Mahmood Amiry-Moghaddam.

Video footage and death certificates obtained by IHR showed that ‘live ammunition is being directly fired at protesters’, he charged.

Riot police have beaten protesters with truncheons in running street battles, and students have torn down large pictures of the supreme leader and his late predecessor Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, in recent video footage published by AFP.

At least 20 journalists have been arrested, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

The Iranian judiciary chief, Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei, has stressed ‘the need for decisive action without leniency’ against the protest instigators.

But a powerful Shiite cleric long aligned with the country’s ultra-conservative establishment has urged authorities to take a softer line.

‘The leaders must listen to the demands of the people, resolve their problems and show sensitivity to their rights,’ said Grand Ayatollah Hossein Nouri Hamedani.

Western condemnation of the bloody crackdown has clouded diplomatic efforts to revive a nuclear deal between Iran and major powers that was abandoned by then US president Donald Trump in 2018.

The EU’s foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, who has led those efforts, on Sunday slammed Iran for its ‘widespread and disproportionate use of force against non-violent protesters’.

The United States last week imposed sanctions against the Iranian morality police, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Monday his own country would follow suit with a sanctions package ‘on dozens of individuals and entities’.

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