Protests continue in Iran amid deadly crackdowns, wide arrests


Tehran sees ‘major’ Internet disruption

An activist group called for fresh protests across Iran on Wednesday in a bid to overthrow the regime as demonstrations enter their fourth week, according to report by Iran International.

On the other hand, Iranian security chiefs on Tuesday deployed tanks, a warplane and busloads of special forces to the city of Sanandaj in Kurdistan province, as more than three weeks of protests showed no sign of abating.

The group, known as ‘Tehran Youth’, called for large protests in all the main roads and squares starting Wednesday afternoon in response to the regime’s fierce crackdown and violence against demonstrators in Sanandaj.

Activists have called for protesters to turn out “in solidarity with the people of Sanandaj and the heroic people of Zahedan”, a southeastern city where demonstrations erupted on September 30 over the reported rape of a teenage girl by a police commander.

Oslo-based group Iran Human Rights said Wednesday that at least 201 people, including 28 children, have been killed since nationwide protests sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini began weeks ago.

Calls for protests beginning at noon Wednesday saw a massive deployment of riot police and plainclothes officers throughout Tehran, witnesses said. They also described disruptions affecting their mobile Internet services.

NetBlocks, an advocacy group, said that Iran’s Internet traffic had dropped to some 25 percent compared to the peak, even during a working day in which students were in class across the country.

“The incident is likely to further limit the free flow of information amid protests,” NetBlocks said.

Despite the disruption, witnesses saw at least one demonstration in Tehran by some 30 women who had removed their headscarves while chanting: “Death to the dictator!” Those cries, referring to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, can result in a closed-door trial in the country’s Revolutionary Court with the threat of a death sentence.

Passing cars honked in support of the women despite the threats of security forces. Other women simply continued with their day not wearing the hijab in a silent protest, witnesses said. Demonstrations also occurred on university campuses in Tehran as well, online videos purported to show.

Lawyers also peacefully demonstrated in front of the Iran Central Bar Association in Tehran, chanting: “Woman, life, freedom” — a slogan of the demonstrations so far. The video corresponded to known features of the association’s building. A later video posted by activists purported to show them fleeing after security forces fired tear gas at them.—Agencies

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