Iran security forces continue to clash with protesters over Amini's death

Iranian riot police and security forces clashed with demonstrators in dozens of cities amid continuing protests against the death of Mahsa Amini.

 Women carry banners and pictures during a protest following the death of 22-year-old Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini in Iran, in the Kurdish-controlled city of Qamishli, northern Syria September 26, 2022 (photo credit: REUTERS/Orhan Qereman)
Women carry banners and pictures during a protest following the death of 22-year-old Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini in Iran, in the Kurdish-controlled city of Qamishli, northern Syria September 26, 2022
(photo credit: REUTERS/Orhan Qereman)

Iranian riot police and security forces clashed with demonstrators in dozens of cities on Tuesday, state media and social media said, amid continuing protests against the death of young Iranian woman Mahsa Amini in police custody.

Amini, 22, from the Iranian Kurdish city of Saqez, was arrested this month in Tehran for "unsuitable attire" by the morality police that enforces the Islamic Republic's strict dress code.

She died three days later in hospital after falling into a coma, sparking the first big show of opposition on Iran's streets since authorities crushed protests against a rise in gasoline prices in 2019. 

Despite a growing death toll and a fierce crackdown by authorities, videos posted on Twitter showed demonstrators calling for the fall of the clerical establishment while clashing with security forces in Tehran, Tabriz, Karaj, Yazd and many other Iranian cities.

Rights group Amnesty International said on Twitter that Iran's security forces have responded to the protests with "unlawful force, including by using live ammunition, birdshot and other metal pellets, killing dozens of people and injuring hundreds of others." 

A newspaper with a cover picture of Mahsa Amini, a woman who died after being arrested by the Islamic republic's ''morality police'' is seen in Tehran, Iran, September 18, 2022. (credit: MAJID ASGARIPOUR/WANA (WEST ASIA NEWS AGENCY) VIA REUTERS)A newspaper with a cover picture of Mahsa Amini, a woman who died after being arrested by the Islamic republic's ''morality police'' is seen in Tehran, Iran, September 18, 2022. (credit: MAJID ASGARIPOUR/WANA (WEST ASIA NEWS AGENCY) VIA REUTERS)

State television said police clashed with what it called "rioters" in some cities and fired tear gas to disperse them.

Social media in the demonstrations

Videos posted on social media from inside Iran showed protesters chanting, "Woman, Life, Liberty", while women waved and burnt their veils.

Videos on Twitter showed protesters chanting "Death to the dictator" in the city of Tabriz, a reference to Iran's top authority Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. In the Kurdish cities of Sanandaj and Sardasht, riot police fired at protesters, videos on Twitter showed.

"I will kill those who killed my sister," chants of protesters could be heard in one of the videos from Tehran.

Social media posts, along with some activists, have called for a nationwide strike. Several university teachers have resigned in protest against Amini's death, according to statements published by them on social media.

Further videos on social media showed protests continuing in dozens of cities after nightfall on Tuesday. A video widely shared on social media showed protests in Chabahar city in restive southeast Iran, with demonstrators torching government offices as gun shots could be heard.

"The crowed is upset over Mahsa Amini's death and allegations that a policeman has raped a teenage girl from the Baluch ethnic minority," a voice in video said. Reuters could not authenticate the footage.

Students in several universities have refused to participate in classes in protest against the widespread arrest of students and forceful encounters with security forces in universities.

The videos on social media and resignation reports could not be verified by Reuters.

Amini's death has drawn widespread international condemnation while Iran has blamed "thugs" linked to "foreign enemies" for stirring up unrest. Tehran has accused the United States and some European countries of using the unrest to try to destabilize the Islamic Republic.

The officials said 41 people, including members of the police and a pro-government militia, died during the protests. But Iranian human rights groups have reported a higher toll.

The Iranian human rights group Hengaw said "18 were killed, 898 people were injured and over 1,000 Kurdish protesters have been arrested in the last ten days", estimating the figures to be higher.

Iran's judiciary has set up special courts to try "rioters", according to state media.

To make it difficult for protesters to post videos on social media, authorities have restricted internet access in several provinces, according to Internet blockage observatory NetBlocks on Twitter and sources in Iran.