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Iran: clashes during demonstrations in their fourth week

Anger flared after the 22-year-old Iranian Kurd died in hospital on September 16, three days after she was arrested in Tehran by vice police for breaching the Islamic Republic's strict dress code for women, including the wearing of the veil.

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Iran: clashes during demonstrations in their fourth week

Anger flared after the 22-year-old Iranian Kurd died in hospital on September 16, three days after she was arrested in Tehran by vice police for breaching the Islamic Republic's strict dress code for women, including the wearing of the veil.

Iranian authorities said on Friday that Mahsa Amini died of illness and not of "blows" to the head, although her family said she was previously in good health.

Demonstrations continued on Saturday in Iran as part of this protest movement which has also given rise to rallies in solidarity with Iranian women in recent weeks around the world.

In Saqez, hometown of Mahsa Amini in Kurdistan province, schoolgirls chanted "Woman, life, freedom", and girls walking down a street took off their headscarves to wave it above their heads, according to reports. videos recorded on Saturday, said human rights NGO Hengaw, based in Norway.

Despite restrictions on internet access by authorities seeking to prevent rallies and the dissemination of images of the crackdown, protesters have adopted new tactics to get their message across.

Like this large banner placed on an overpass of the Modares highway crossing the center of Tehran, according to online images verified by AFP, on which it is written: "We are no longer afraid. We will beat us".

A widely shared video shows a man changing the text of a slogan on a large public notice board from where the phrase 'Police serve the people' to 'Police kill the people'.

- "General strikes" -

In another form of protest, "general strikes" are taking place in Saqez, Sanandaj and Divandarreh in Kurdistan province, as well as Mahabad in West Azerbaijan province, according to Hengaw.

In Sanandaj, shots rang out during clashes between protesters and police, according to images shared by the online media 1500tasvir, which lists human rights violations.

Demonstrations also took place in Shiraz (south) as well as in Karaj, a city located west of Tehran, and in Kerman (south), according to the same source.

AFP was not immediately able to verify the images of 1500tasvir.

The repression has increased since the beginning of the protest movement, the largest since the demonstrations against rising gasoline prices in 2019.

At least 92 people have been killed since September 16, according to the NGO Iran Human Rights, based in Oslo, while an official report puts around 60 dead, including 12 members of the security forces.

Ultra-conservative President Ebrahim Raisi, who attended a ceremony at a Tehran university on Saturday marking the start of the academic year, blamed the unrest on outside forces and said the students would not serve the interests of "the enemy".

Iran has repeatedly accused outside forces of stoking the protests, including the United States, its sworn enemy. Last week, Tehran announced that nine foreign nationals, including from France, Germany, Italy, Poland and the Netherlands, had been arrested.

Friday, Paris called on the French "passing through Iran" to "leave the country as soon as possible given the risks of arbitrary detention to which they are exposed".

The violent crackdown on protests in Iran has sparked a wave of condemnations around the world, and the announcement of sanctions against the regime, notably by the United States and Canada, while the European Union has said it is examining possible sanctions. .

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