SULIMANIYAH, Iraq –
Anti-government protests broke out on Saturday in several locations across Iran as the longest protest in years against an evil theocracy entered its fourth week. At least two people were killed.
The marchers chanted anti-government slogans and wore headscarves to reject the religion’s coercive dress codes. In some areas, merchants have closed stores in response to activists’ calls for a trade strike or to protect their goods from damage.
Protests broke out on September 17, after the burial of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, a Kurdish woman who died in the custody of Iran’s fearsome moral police. Amini was detained for allegedly violating the strict Islamic dress code for women. Since then, protests have spread across the country and have been met with a violent crackdown, in which dozens are estimated to have been killed and hundreds arrested.
In the city of Sanandaj in the northern Kurdish-majority region, a man was shot dead Saturday while driving his car on a major road, human rights monitors said. The France-based Kurdistan Human Rights Network and the Hengaw Human Rights Foundation, said the man was shot after honking his horn with security forces stationed on the street. Horns have become one of the ways activists show civil disobedience. Video circulating online shows the dead man slipping on the wheel, as distraught bystanders call for help.
The semi-official Fars news agency, believed to be close to the elite paramilitary force, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, said the Kurdistan police chief denied reports of the use of protests. directly against the protesters.
Fars testified that people in Sanandaj’s Pasdaran street said the victim was shot from inside the car without specifying. But photographs of the dead man show him being shot from the left, meaning he may not have been shot from inside the vehicle. Blood can be seen running along the inside of the driver’s side door.
A second protester was killed after security forces opened fire to disperse crowds in the city and 10 protesters were injured, human rights watchdogs said.
A general strike was observed on the main streets of the city amid a heavy security presence and protesters burning tires in some areas. Patrols have prevented mass gatherings in Sanandaj, but isolation protests continue in densely populated areas of the city.
Protests were also reported in the capital Tehran on Saturday, including small demonstrations near Sharif University of Technology, one of Iran’s top learning centers and the scene of a crackdown government violence last weekend. Authorities have closed the campus until further notice.
Photos on social media showed protests also taking place in the northeastern city of Mashhad.
Other protests broke out at Azad University in northern Tehran, in other neighborhoods of the capital and in the city’s market. Many shops have closed in central Tehran and near Tehran University.
President Ebrahim Raisi during a meeting with students from the all-female Al-Zahra University in Tehran accused again that foreign enemies were responsible for fueling the protests. He made the claim without giving specifics or providing any proof.
“The enemy thinks it can pursue its desires in universities while not knowing that our students and teachers are aware and they will not allow the enemy’s illusory plans to be done,” he said.
Meanwhile, thousands of people in The Hague, Netherlands chanted and sang in a solidarity rally in support of the protesters in Iran.