SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Protesters in Tehran and other Iranian cities torched police stations and vehicles on Thursday as unrest triggered by the death of a woman detained by the morality police intensified, with reports of security forces coming under attack.
Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini, 22, died last week after being arrested in Tehran for “violating the Islamic dress code,” refusing to wear a veil in the Islamic republic which is compulsory.
Amini fell into a coma while in detention. Human Rights watchdogs said she was beaten for not wearing Hijab which resulted in her slipping into a coma.
The authorities have said they would launch an investigation into the cause of her death.
The incident unleashed huge anger in the population and the worst protests in the Islamic Republic since 2019.
Most have been concentrated in Iran’s Kurdish provinces northwest but have spread to the capital and at least 50 cities and towns nationwide, with police using force to push back protesters.
On Wednesday 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.
State-affiliated news outlets Tasnim and Fars news agencies reported the stabbing which appeared on Telegram as both their websites were out of reach.
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.
Another police station was set ablaze in Tehran as the unrest spread from Kurdistan, the home province of Amini.
Amini’s death has rekindled fury across the Islamic Republic over issues including restrictions on personal freedoms – including strict dress codes for women – and an economy reeling from sanctions.
Reports by Kurdish rights group Hengaw said the death toll in Kurdish areas had climbed 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 the protests easing, authorities restricted access to the internet, according to accounts from Hengaw, residents, and internet shutdown observatory NetBlocks.
Iran’s clerical rulers fear a revival of the 2019 protests that erupted over gasoline price rises, the bloodiest in the Islamic Republic’s history. In which 1,500 were killed according to Reuters.
(Esta Media Network/Reuters)