Iranian protesters burn down police stations as unrest over woman’s death spreads

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  • Reports of security forces under attack
  • Kurdish woman did this after being detained by the morality police
  • The Iranian government has promised an investigation into her death

DUBAI, Sept 22 (Reuters) – Protesters in Tehran and other Iranian cities burned police stations and vehicles on Thursday as unrest sparked by the death of a woman detained by morality police intensified, with reports of security forces being attacked.

Mahsa Amini, 22, died last week after being arrested in Tehran for wearing “inappropriate clothing”. She fell into a coma while in detention. Authorities have said they would launch an investigation into the cause of her death.

The incident sparked huge public anger and the worst protests in the Islamic Republic since 2019. Most have been concentrated in Iran’s Kurdish-populated northwest, but have spread to the capital and at least 50 towns and cities nationwide, where police have used force to to spread. protesters.

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A member of an Iranian pro-government paramilitary organization, the Basij, was stabbed to death in the northeastern city of Mashhad on Wednesday, two semi-official Iranian news agencies reported on Thursday.

Reports of the stabbing by Tasnim and Fars news agencies appeared on Telegram when both their websites were out of reach. There was no official confirmation of the death.

Tasnim also said another member of the Basij was killed on Wednesday in the city of Qazvin as a result of a gunshot wound inflicted by “rioters and gangs”, bringing the total reported number of security force members killed in the unrest to four.

In the northeast, protesters chanted “We will die, we will die, but we will get Iran back” near a police station that was set on fire, a video posted on the Twitter account 1500tasvir showed. The 1500tasvir account focuses on Iran protests and has around 100,000 followers.

Reuters could not verify the footage.

Another police station was set on fire in Tehran as unrest spread from Kurdistan, Amini’s home province.

Amini’s death has reignited fury across the Islamic Republic over issues including restrictions on personal freedoms – including strict dress codes for women – and an economy that is immune from sanctions.

Iran’s clerical rulers fear a revival of the 2019 protests that erupted over gasoline price hikes, the bloodiest in the Islamic Republic’s history. Reuters reported that 1,500 were killed.

Protesters this week also expressed anger at Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. “Mojtaba, may you die and not become the supreme leader,” a crowd was seen chanting in Tehran, referring to Khamenei’s son, who some believe may succeed his father at the top of Iran’s political establishment.

Reuters could not verify the video.

Reports from the Kurdish rights group Hengaw, which Reuters could not verify, said the death toll in Kurdish areas had risen to 12 as of Wednesday. Iranian officials have denied that security forces have killed protesters, suggesting they may have been shot by armed dissidents.

With no sign of protests abating, authorities restricted access to the Internet, according to reports from Hengaw, residents and the Internet shutdown observatory NetBlocks.

Women have played a prominent role in the protests, waving and burning their veils and some cutting their hair in public.

In northern Iran, mobs armed with batons and stones attacked two members of the security forces on a motorbike as a crowd cheered, as seen in a video that Reuters was unable to verify.

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Report from Dubai bureau; Written by Michael Georgy; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky and Mark Heinrich

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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