- The protests show no sign of abating amid harsh government warnings
- University students clashed with security forces
- Journalists demand the release of their imprisoned colleagues
- Rights groups report that activists and students have been arrested
DUBAI, Oct 30 (Reuters) – Protests in Iran turned violent on Sunday, with social media videos showing students defying an ultimatum from the Revolutionary Guard Corps and a warning from the president, met with tear gas and gunfire by security forces. showed.
Clashes at dozens of universities threatened a harsher crackdown in the seventh week of protests that began with the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini after she was arrested by morality police for wearing what was deemed inappropriate.
“Security is the red line of the Islamic Republic, and we will not allow the enemy to carry out their plans to undermine this valuable national asset in any way,” hard-line politician Ibrahim Raisi was quoted as saying by state media.
After the death of Amin, Iranians from different walks of life flocked to the streets in protests that clerics said threatened the security of the Islamic Republic.
Officials accuse Islamic Iran’s arch-enemies, the United States and Israel, and their domestic agents of being behind the unrest to stabilize the country.
It started as an outcry over Amy’s death in September. 16 has become one of the toughest tests for clerical rulers since the 1979 revolution, with some protesters calling for the death of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
The commander-in-chief of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps told protesters that Saturday would be the last day they would take to the streets, the strongest warning yet from Iranian authorities.
However, videos on social media, not verified by Reuters, showed clashes between students and riot police and Basij forces at universities across Iran on Sunday.
In one of the videos, members of the Basij forces opened fire at close range on protesting students at a branch of Azad University in Tehran. Gunshots were also heard in the video shared by the HENGAW human rights organization from the protests held at Kurdistan University in Sanandaj.
Videos from universities in some other cities also showed Basij forces shooting at students.
Across the country, security forces tried to lock students inside university buildings, used tear gas and beat protesters with batons. The students, who appeared to be unarmed, retreated, some chanting “Death to Khamenei” and “Death to Khamenei”.
HISTORY OF KRAKDOWS
Social media reported that at least a dozen doctors, journalists and artists had been arrested since Saturday. The activist HRANA news agency reported that 283 protesters, including 44 minors, had been killed in the unrest as of Saturday. About 34 members of the security forces were also killed.
According to information, more than 14,000 people, including 253 students, were arrested during protests held in 132 cities and towns and 122 universities.
The Guard and its affiliated Basij forces have crushed the opposition in the past. On Sunday, they said they were being harassed by “rebels” at universities and on the streets, and warned they could use more force if anti-government protests continue.
“So far, the Basij have shown restraint and been patient,” state news agency IRNA said.
“But if the situation continues, it will be out of our control.”
In a statement published by Iran’s Etemad and other newspapers on Sunday, more than 300 Iranian journalists demanded the release of two colleagues jailed for covering Amin.
Niloofar Hamedi took a photo of Ami’s parents hugging each other in the Tehran hospital where their daughter was lying in a coma.
The image Hamedi shared on Twitter was the first signal to the world that all was not well with Amini, who was detained by Iran’s morality police three days ago for dressing inappropriately.
Elaheh Mohammadi covered Ami’s funeral in the Kurdish hometown of Saghez, where the protests began. On Friday, Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and the Revolutionary Guards were accused of being foreign agents of the Central Intelligence Agency in a joint statement issued by the Intelligence Agency.
Students and women played an important role in the riots, burning their headscarves during a rally demanding the fall of the Islamic Republic, which came to power in 1979.
On Sunday, an official said the facility had no plans to withdraw from mandatory coverage but would have to be “wise” about enforcement.
“Removing the veil is against our law and this headquarters will not back down from its position,” Ali Khanmohammadi, a spokesman for Iran’s Headquarters for Promoting Virtue and Preventing Investigation, told Khabaronline.
“However, our actions must be smart so as not to give the adversaries an excuse to use against us.”
In a more overt effort to defuse the situation, parliament speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf said the people were right to call for reform and that their demands would be met if they stayed away from the “criminals” who took to the streets.
“We not only consider protests to be right and the cause of progress, but we also believe that these social movements will change policies and decisions, provided they are separated from violent people, criminals and separatists,” he said, using official words. usually used for protestors.
Written by Michael Georgy and Parisa Hafezi; Edited by Nick Macfie, Philippa Fletcher, Angus MacSwan and Barbara Lewis
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