Violence against demonstrators in Iran: gunshots, beatings, tear gas

Status: 10/11/2022 3:19 PM

Protests following the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini are spreading, for example to the country’s important oil industry. Reports of violence by the security forces also continue, particularly in the Kurdish region.

In Iran, the crackdown on protesters in Kurdish areas of the country has further intensified, according to activists. Police fired shots in at least a quarter of Sanandaj, the capital of Kurdistan province.

A video released by the Kurdish organization Hengaw showed dark streets in Sanandaj, some 400 kilometers west of Tehran, while gunshots were heard. Additional footage showed police officers with firearms marching through the streets, apparently shooting at houses.

Videos despite the lack of internet

Videos of the demonstrations from the capital Tehran and other cities continue to appear on social media, even as authorities have blocked the internet. Videos from Monday showed student demonstrations. Again women and girls without the obligatory headscarf wandered the streets.

Another video reportedly showed a large bullet hole in the home of a city resident. Hengaw explained that it came from a heavy machine gun often mounted on armored vehicles. Another video would show security forces firing into the air during an arrest.

Iranian authorities react aggressively

The New York-based Center for Human Rights in Iran also released a video of a phalanx of security forces riding motorcycles through Sanandaj. “They reportedly smashed the windows of hundreds of cars in the Bahara district,” the center said.

The Iranian authorities have not confirmed the operation in Sanandaj. Iran’s Foreign Office summoned the British ambassador as the British government imposed sanctions on vice squad members and security officials for handling the protests. Iran’s foreign ministry has described the sanctions as arbitrary and unfounded and has threatened retaliation.

Amnesty International criticizes violence

Amnesty International has criticized the Iranian security forces for the indiscriminate use of firearms and tear gas. The human rights organization called on the world to put pressure on Iran to prevent the authorities from cracking down on the protesters.

White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan also said the world is watching what is happening in Iran. “These protesters are Iranian citizens led by women and girls who demand dignity and basic rights,” he wrote on Twitter. “We stand behind them and we will hold those who use violence to silence their voices accountable.”

Protests also in the oil industry

The protests have not died down for four weeks, on the contrary, they are getting bigger. They were sparked by the death of 22-year-old Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini after her arrest by the vice squad. In the Kurdistan region, demonstrations began on September 17 at Amini’s funeral.

In addition, workers at two major oil refinery complexes joined the protests on Monday, marking the first time a major industry for Iran’s theocracy has been linked to the unrest. In the important oil city of Abadan in Khusistan province, more workers took to the streets on Tuesday, and others called for protests on Wednesday.

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