Iranians on Sunday defied a warning from the judiciary and took to the streets for a 10th consecutive night to protest the death of young Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini while in the custody of the morality police.
Echoing an earlier warning by Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, Iranian Chief Justice Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei on Sunday “emphasized the need for decisive action without leniency” against the core instigators of the “riots,” the judiciary’s Mizan Online Web site said.
At least 41 people have died since the unrest began, mostly protesters, but including members of the security forces, official data showed.
Other sources said the real figure is higher.
Iran’s largest protests in almost three years have seen security forces fire live rounds and bird shot, rights groups say, while protesters have hurled rocks, torched police cars and set ablaze state buildings.
Oslo-based Iran Human Rights (IHR) on Sunday evening said that the death toll was at least 57, but noted that ongoing Internet blackouts made it increasingly difficult to confirm fatalities in a context where the female-led protests have spread to scores of cities.
Hundreds of demonstrators, reform advocates and journalists have been arrested during the mostly nighttime demonstrations since unrest first broke out after Amini’s death was announced on Sept. 16.
Amini, whose Kurdish first name was Jhina, was detained three days earlier for allegedly breaching rules mandating a tightly-fitted hijab and which ban, among other things, ripped jeans and brightly colored clothes.
Images circulated by IHR showed protesters on the streets of Tehran shouting “death to the dictator,” purportedly after nightfall on Sunday.
Witnesses said that protests were continuing in several locations. Video footage showed demonstrations in Tabriz and Shiraz, among other places, with women removing their headscarves and protesters shouting against the authorities.
Among the protesters were women who burnt their hijab and cut off their hair. Some danced near large bonfires to the applause of crowds that have chanted “zan, zendegi, azadi” or “woman, life, freedom.”
Video of demonstrations on Saturday showed students ripping down a picture of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei outside a university in the northern province of Mazandaran.
Web monitor NetBlocks reported “rolling blackouts” and “widespread Internet platform restrictions” on Sunday, with WhatsApp, Instagram and Skype already blocked.
This followed older bans on Facebook, Twitter, TikTok and Telegram.
Protests abroad in solidarity with Iranian women have been held in Athens, Berlin, Brussels, Istanbul, Madrid, New York and other cities.
In Paris and London on Sunday, police clashed with demonstrators trying to reach Iran’s embassies. French officers fired tear gas. In London, 12 people were arrested and five police officers seriously hurt, police said.
EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell deplored the Iranian security forces’ response to the unrest as “disproportionate ... unjustifiable and unacceptable.”
Iran, which has been hit with tough economic sanctions over its nuclear program, has blamed “foreign plots” for the unrest.
The Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Sunday said that it had summoned Britain’s ambassador over what it described as an “invitation to riots” by Farsi-speaking media based in London.
The ministry also called in Norway’s envoy over “unconstructive comments” made by his nation’s parliamentary speaker.
Ministry spokesman Hossein Amir-Abdollahian criticized “the US interventionist approach in the affairs of Iran ... including its provocative actions in supporting the rioters.”
IHR on Sunday reported that an umbrella of Iranian teachers’ unions were calling on teachers and students to boycott classes yesterday and tomorrow in support of the protests.
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