Iranian protesters defy violent crackdown by regime forces

Protests continued throughout Iran on Sunday, over nine weeks after Mahsa Amini was killed by Tehran "morality police."

 Iranian protesters, November 19, 2020 (photo credit: 1500tasvir)
Iranian protesters, November 19, 2020
(photo credit: 1500tasvir)

Iranian protesters conducted demonstrations and strikes across Iran on Sunday after regime forces violently cracked down on Kurdish cities in western Iran overnight, over nine weeks after Mahsa Amini was killed by Tehran's "morality police."

Large numbers of Iranian forces entered Mahabad on Saturday evening and began firing heavily in residential areas, according to the Hengaw Human Rights Organization. Footage published online showed armored vehicles and troops headed into the city.

Shots were fired at protesters and residents across the city, according to footage and reports shared on social media and by activists and journalists. In a number of videos reportedly from Mahabad, residents could be heard screaming as volleys of gunshots were heard.

 Billboard featuring Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei torched in southern Iran, November 14, 2022 (credit: 1500tasvir) Billboard featuring Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei torched in southern Iran, November 14, 2022 (credit: 1500tasvir)

Photos published on Sunday morning showed bullet holes in many windows and dozens of casings from the fired bullets. The 1500tasvir account, which has worked to publish footage from the protests, warned of a repeat of the 2019 Mahshahr massacre, a mass killing of protesters during the 2019-2020 Iran protests.

Violence was reported in Bukan, Marivan, Baneh, Piranshahr and Saqqez, the hometown of Mahsa Amini, as well overnight, with a video shared by Hengaw showing bullets fired into a home in Bukan.

Hengaw reported that a number of explosions were heard in Marivan, Baneh, Saqqez and Bukan as drones were flying overhead overnight. Journalist Farza Seifikaran also reported that explosions were heard in Saqqez.

The Sepah telegram channel, affiliated with the IRGC, reported that military and security forces had "cleaned" homes in Mahabad of "terrorists," claiming that armed individuals had used the homes as "hideouts."

The IRGC-affiliated Tasnim News Agency claimed that security force "maintained the peace" while entering Mahabad and arresting what it called "the main leaders of rioters and some terrorist teams."

The Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (PDKI) warned that  a form of martial law has seemingly been imposed in Mahabad, calling on the international community to "not remain silent against the massacre of the Kurdish people."

Despite violence by security forces, protesters continue demonstrations

Despite the violent crackdown, protests continued throughout Kurdish areas of Iran and throughout the country overnight and on Sunday, including in Mahabad, Isfahan, Bukan, Tabriz, Ardabil, Tehran, Marivan and Sanandaj, among other locations.

Protesters in Mahabad surrounded a police station in the city and conducted demonstrations as police forces fired at them from the walls of the building. Additional footage showed protesters building barricades in the streets of the city.

Protesters in Saqqez, Sardasht, Marivan and Piranshar blocked roads as well on Sunday evening.

Gunfire continued to be heard in Mahabad on Sunday and helicopters were spotted over the city. Helicopters were spotted over Bukan and Saqqez as well.

Video from Mahabad showed a convoy of Iranian Special Forces vehicles entering the city on Sunday. The person taking the video stated that city is under martial law, according to Seifikaran.

On Sunday, Iranian forces attacked and shot at protesting high school students in Dehgolan, according to Hengaw.

In Kermanshah, protesters torched a base belonging to security forces in the city. In Paveh, security forces fired at crowds of protesters, according to footage shared by 1500tasvir.

Students at the University of Social Welfare and Rehabilitation Sciences were videoed chanting anti-government slogans in support of protesters on Sunday.

On Sunday evening, security forces began firing heavily in Javanrud and in Piranshahr, with at least four protesters killed and an unknown number wounded, according to initial reports.

On Sunday morning, Iranian actress Hengameh Ghaziani was arrested for "supporting rioters and inciting riots" after posting a photo of herself without a hijab on Saturday, according to IRNA.

US pushes for urgent meeting to kick Iran out of UN Women's Rights Commission

Hillel Neuer, the executive director of UN Watch, reported on Sunday that the US Ambassador to the UN, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, had requested a special meeting of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) in mid-December in order to vote on a draft resolution to expel Iran from the UN Women's Rights Commission.