Wednesday, October 5, 2022
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Iranian state-organized protesters call for execution of protesters

DUBAI (Reuters) – State-organized demonstrations were held in several Iranian cities on Friday to counter nationwide anti-government unrest sparked by the death of a woman in police custody, with demonstrators calling for the execution of “rioters”. “.

The pro-government demonstrations followed authorities’ strongest warning yet when the military said it would confront “the enemies” behind the unrest, a move that could signal the kind of crackdown that has crushed protests in the past.

Demonstrators condemned the anti-government demonstrators as “soldiers of Israel,” live state television coverage showed. They also shouted “Death to America” ​​and “Death to Israel,” common slogans used by the country’s clerical rulers to try to drum up support for the authorities.

“Koran violators must be executed,” the crowd shouted.

Iranians are furious over the case of Mahsa Amini, 22, who died last week after being arrested by morality police for wearing “inadequate clothing”.

The morality police, attached to Iran’s law enforcement agencies, are tasked with ensuring respect for Islamic morality as described by the country’s clerical authorities.

The 1500tasvir Twitter account with 117,000 followers reported heavy clashes in the central city of Isfahan between protesters and security forces.

‘WRONG STRATEGY’

Amini’s death has reignited anger over issues including Iran’s restrictions on personal freedoms, strict dress codes for women and an economy reeling from sanctions.

The army’s message on Friday, seen as a warning to protesters, said: “These desperate actions are part of the enemy’s evil strategy to weaken the Islamic regime.”

The military said that they “will confront the various plots of the enemies to guarantee the security and peace of the people who are being unjustly attacked.”

Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi also warned the “seditious” on Friday that their “dream of defeating religious values ​​and the great achievements of the revolution will never be realized,” according to the AsrIran website.

Pro-government demonstrations on Friday showed the strength of the Islamic Republic, President Ebrahim Raisi said, adding that unrest will not be tolerated.

“The presence of the people (in the marches) today is the power and honor of the Islamic Republic,” Raisi, facing the biggest protests since 2019, said on live television after returning from New York, where he attended the United Nations General Assembly.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres met Raisi in New York on Thursday and raised human rights issues, a UN spokesman said.

The United Nations is concerned “by reports of peaceful protests that were met with excessive use of force resulting in dozens of deaths and injuries,” spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters.

“We call on the security forces to refrain from using unnecessary or disproportionate force and we call on everyone to exercise restraint to prevent further escalation,” Dujarric said.

Anti-government protests were especially strong in Amini’s home province of Kurdistan and nearby areas. State television said two caches of weapons, explosives and communications equipment were seized and two people were arrested in northwestern Iran, which includes the border with Iraq, where armed Kurdish dissident groups are based.

The human rights group Hengaw said a general strike was held on Friday in Oshnavieh, Javanroud, Sardasht and other cities in the northwest where many of Iran’s up to 10 million Kurds live.

Internet blocking watchdog NetBlocks said mobile internet had been disrupted in Iran for the third time.

“Live metrics show nationwide connectivity loss at leading cellular operator MCI,” he said on Twitter.

Mobile internet had been partially reconnected overnight.

HACK ATTACKS, ARRESTS,

Twitter accounts linked to Anonymous “hacktivists” expressed support for the protests, saying they had attacked 100 Iranian websites, including several government-owned ones.

The websites of the central bank, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and several state-affiliated news agencies have been disrupted in recent days.

Iran’s clerical rulers fear a resurgence of protests that erupted in 2019 over rising gasoline prices, the bloodiest in the Islamic Republic’s history. Reuters reported that 1,500 people were killed.

Human rights groups such as Hengaw and HRANA, lawyers and social media users reported widespread arrests of students and activists at their homes by security forces in an apparent effort to quell the protests.

Majid Tavakoli, a student leader turned human rights activist, was detained overnight, his brother Mohsen said.

“The house was raided and Majid was arrested in his sleep… We can’t do anything. Please spread the word,” Mohsen Tavakoli tweeted.

(Reporting by Dubai Newsroom; additional reporting by Michelle Nichols in New York; Writing by Michael Georgy, Editing by William Maclean, Andrew Heavens and Mark Potter)

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