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Mahsa Amini: Protests Erupt in More Iranian Cities as MP Slams 'Disgusting' Morality Patrol Base

September 20, 2022
4 min read
At demonstrations today furious Iranians called for "unity" and declared: "Our patience is exhausted"
At demonstrations today furious Iranians called for "unity" and declared: "Our patience is exhausted"

Protests sparked last week by the death of “morality patrol” victim Mahsa Amini continued in Iran on Tuesday as people again took to the streets demanding an end to religious dictatorship.

At noon today a rally was held in the Tehran Bazaar that spread into other parts of central Tehran and continued after dark. Protesters chanted “Mahsa Amini, rest in peace” and “Dignified bazaaris [shopowners], support us”.

Following huge gatherings on campuses in the capital on Monday, some of which led to clashes with security forces, students at Tehran University, the Iran University of Science and Industry, Tabriz, Shahid Beheshti and Yazd Universities again demonstrated against the government today.

Among the slogans heard in Tabriz were “From Kurdistan to Tabriz, our patience is exhausted” and "Freedom is our right, Mahsa is our symbol". In Tehran, students chanted “Shameless, shameless” at Basij forces who tried to disperse them.

A banner bearing the image of Mahsa Amini, who was just 22 when she died from head injuries sustained in custody last Friday, was installed on a pedestrian bridge close to the Nemat Abad police station in Tehran.


Security Forces Move in to Stifle Kurdistan

Also on Tuesday, street protests were held in Marivan, the capital of Kurdistan province, following mass demonstrations in at least eight cities there on Monday. Some business owners in the province kept up a general strike in reaction to Mahsa Amini’s death, shuttering their businesses despite the threat of heavy fines.

In other parts of Kurdistan, though, unwritten martial law has been imposed and the streets of many city centers are now crawling with security forces. At least 60 people were arrested in the province on Tuesday, of whom more than 30 were children.

In the city of Diwandara, where at least two people were killed yesterday, uniformed officers are guarding the entrance to the hospital. You can read more about the situation in Kurdistan today here.


Clashes in Iranian Cities Gather Pace Overnight

Demonstrations also took place in Karaj, close to Tehran, during the day. Videos posted by the Twitter account 1500tasvir, which monitors protests in Iran, showed large crowds gathered in the Gohardasht neighborhood late on Tuesday.

In the city of Arak, Markazi province, furious residents marched through the streets and managed to chase a group of police cars away from one protest site. Unrest also continued in Arak well into the evening. 

Mashhad, a holy city for Shia Muslims and the seat of many of Iran's ruling clergy, saw large rallies take place in a park on Monday. On Tuesday night huge crowds formed in the city. Footage shared online showed citizens cheering an overturned police car. 

Protesters in the city of Shiraz, the capital of Fars province, which witnessed a sudden crackdown on civic freedoms earlier this summer, were attacked by police forces on motorcycles after night fell. In one video posted online tonight gunshots could clearly be heard.

Footage of protests in Sari, Isfahan, Rasht and Kerman has also emerged tonight showing groups of citizens blocking the roads and chanting anti-government slogans. In Sari, a group of citizens set fire to a banner bearing the faces of Supreme Leaders Ali Khamenei and Ruhollah Khomeini.


Tributes from Evin Prison

Around 40 female political prisoners took part in a vigil for Mahsa Amini on Monday night in the courtyard of Evin Prison, at the same time as mass protests were taking place in the streets outside.

In a note shared on Tuesday via her husband, Sadra Abdollahi, the jailed documentary filmmaker Aaliya Motalebzadeh wrote: “We read. We talked about the situation. We mourned and consoled each other. We recalled that for 40 years now, so many calamities have befallen this country that all our people have done is mourn and console each other.

“Today we said to ourselves, ‘We wish we were among you people, with our sisters, mothers and friends, in these difficult days, because we heard that Mahsa's unjust death has brought you together again!”

“But Mahsa was not the first victim and will not be the last. Mahsa’s death is just one outcome of… a government that has always been at war with the human dignity and rights of the Iranian people. In that time, women have paid a heavy price.

“Now maybe the time has come to face the oppression of women and young people. All of us Iranians should join together to force the rulers of the Islamic Republic to retreat.”

Politicians Demand a Real Explanation

With President Ebrahim Raisi in New York for the UN General Assembly, it fell to Mohamed Bagher Ghalibaf to provide the latest official line on Tuesday.

The Speaker of Parliament, an ex-IRGC commander whose tenure as Mayor of Tehran was blighted by corruption scandals, told legislators: “Time will show that the people’s trust [in the system] was correct.”

He accused those attending protests, who have hailed from all segments of society, of being part of an “organized and trained” campaign of “creating chaos by the enemy”.

As was the case during previous periods of unrest, the internet has been cut off in critical zones and Iranian state media outlets are not covering the protests.

On Tuesday Reza Moini, head of the Iran-Afghanistan desk at Reporters Without Borders, said in all likelihood domestic media workers were being muzzled on pain of judicial proceedings.

Politicians, however, have a freer hand and on Tuesday the MP for Tabriz, Masoud Mezikian, said the official account of Mahsa’s death – from a heart attack and strike, rather than blows to the head – was “impossible”.

Shahindokht Molaverdi, a former vice-president for women’s affairs in the Rouhani administration, also cast doubt on the official narrative. "Even if we believe there was no physical altercation,” she said, “what kinds of pressure and stress were inflicted on a 22-year-old girl, that she had two attacks at the same time?"

On Monday the MP for Chabahar, Moinuddin Saeedi, called the Tehran “re-education center” Mahsa was taken to before she lost consciousness “disgusting” and demanded its closure.



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