State-organized Iranian demonstrators are demanding the execution of demonstrators

  • Calls for the execution of rioters
  • The death of a woman sparks mass protests
  • The army issues a sharp warning

DUBAI, Sept 23 (Reuters) – State-organized demonstrations took place in several Iranian cities on Friday in a bid to counter anti-government unrest sparked by the death of a woman in police custody. Protesters called for the execution of protesters.

The demonstrations followed the authorities’ strongest warning yet, when the army told Iranians it would confront “the enemies” behind the unrest – a move that could signal the kind of crackdown that has crushed protests in the past.

Protesters condemned the anti-government protesters as “Israel’s soldiers,” according to live state television coverage. They also chanted “Death America” ​​and “Death Israel,” common slogans used by the country’s clerical rulers in an attempt to garner support for the authorities.

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“Violators of the Koran must be executed,” chanted the crowd.

Iranians have staged mass protests over the case of Mahsa Amini, 22, who died last week after being arrested by morality police for wearing “inappropriate clothing”.

The morality police, attached to Iran’s law enforcement agencies, are tasked with ensuring adherence to Islamic morality as described by the country’s clerical authorities.

Amini’s death has reignited anger over issues such as Iran’s restrictions on personal liberties, strict dress codes for women and a sanctions-battered economy.

The Iranian army’s message on Friday, which was taken as a warning to protesters enraged at the death, read: “These desperate actions are part of the enemy’s evil strategy to weaken the Islamic regime.”

The military said it will “confront the enemies’ various conspiracies to ensure security and peace for the people who are unjustly targeted.”

Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi also warned “rioters” on Friday that their “dream of defeating religious values ​​and the great achievements of the revolution will never be realized,” according to the AsrIran website.

Anti-government protests were particularly strong in Amini’s home province of Kurdistan and surrounding areas. State television said two caches with weapons, explosives and communications equipment had been seized and two people arrested in north-western Iran, including the border with Iraq, where armed Kurdish dissident groups are based.

Human rights group Hengaw said a general strike was held on Friday in Oshnavieh, Javanroud, Sardasht and other cities in the northwest, where many of Iran’s Kurds of up to 10 million live.

Internet blockage monitoring service NetBlocks said mobile internet was disrupted in Iran for the third time.

“Live metrics show a nationwide loss of connectivity at leading mobile operator MCI,” it said on Twitter.

The mobile internet had been partially reconnected overnight.

Twitter accounts linked to anonymous “hacktivists” expressed their support for the protests and said they had attacked 100 Iranian websites, including several owned by the government.

Websites of the Central Bank, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and several pro-state news outlets have been disrupted in recent days.

SECURITY GUARDS WILL BE ATTACKED

Iran’s spiritual rulers fear a resurgence in protests that erupted in 2019 over gas price hikes, the bloodiest in the Islamic Republic’s history. Reuters reported that 1,500 people were killed.

Human rights groups such as Hengaw and HRANA, lawyers and social media users reported widespread arrests of students and activists from their homes by security forces in an apparent attempt to stem protests.

Majid Tavakoli, a student leader-turned-human rights activist, was arrested overnight, his brother Mohsen said.

“They searched the house and arrested Majid while he was sleeping… There is nothing we can do. Please spread the word,” Mohsen Tavakoli wrote in a tweet.

In recent unrest, protesters in Tehran and other cities set police stations and vehicles on fire as outrage over Amini’s death seemed unabated and reports of attacks by security forces.

Iranian media reported on Thursday the arrest of 288 “rioters”.

In Madrid on Friday, four topless activists from the women’s movement Femen protested in front of the Iranian embassy against Amini’s death. They carried signs reading “Women, Life, Freedom” and “Mahsa Amini has been murdered”.

The protest was peaceful and there were no arrests.

In Athens, angry protesters protesting over Amini’s death tried to approach the Iranian embassy on Thursday before being pushed back by police with shields. Demonstrators chanted slogans and held placards that read “Kill homophobia and sexism”.

Iranian media said the foreign ministry had summoned the Swedish chargé d’affaires in Tehran to protest a demonstration in front of the Tehran embassy in Stockholm. Images released on social media showed protesters writing slogans at the gate of the mission.

There were also protests against Amini’s death in Canada and the Netherlands on Thursday.

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Reporting by Dubai Newsroom; Writing by Michael Georgy, editing by Alex Richardson, Angus MacSwan, William Maclean and Andrew Heavens

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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