Anti-government protesters are back to the streets across Iran on Wednesday to mark the 40th day since Mahsa Amini's death, despite heavy presence of security and intelligence forces as part of a heavy-handed crackdown on rallies.
Videos shared online showed dozens of people gathered at Aichi cemetery in Saqqez, Amini’s hometown in the western province of Kurdistan, shouting "Kurdistan Kurdistan, the graveyard of fascists" and "Death to the dictator," in reference to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
Reinforcement of security forces arrived in Saqqez overnight, and the main roads in the city have been blocked since the early hours, local sources reported. People have been trying to reach the Aichi cemetery through side roads and along the river.
There were also reports of strikes by shopkeepers and marketers in Saqqez, Bukan and other Kurdish cities.
The 22-year-old Amini died on September 16 in the custody of the morality police after she was arrested for allegedly wearing the hijab incorrectly. Her death sparked mass anti-government protests which have continued for weeks across Iran.
Mourners headed to Amini’s gravesite on Wednesday, even though the security forces had pressured her family to cancel a planned ceremony, according to activists.
"Mahsa Amini’s family is under a lot of pressure from the Iranian security agencies to issue a statement regarding the ceremony marking 40 days since Mahsa’s death. Her brother and other relatives have been threatened with arrest," the Hengaw human rights organization reported.
The wave of protests first focused on Iran’s strict dress code for women, but soon grew into one of the most serious challenges to the country’s establishment, with demonstrators clashing with security forces and calling for the downfall of the Islamic Republic.
Authorities have waged a violent crackdown on the protesters, killing at least 215 people, including 27 children, according to one human rights organization. Several thousand people have been arrested.