© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks during a meeting with members of the Emergency Delimitation Council in Tehran, Iran October 12, 2022. Office of the Supreme Leader of Iran / WANA (Newspapers) Tay A Commune) / Handout via
By Leon Malherbe and Parisa Hafezi
BERLIN/DUBAI (Reuters) – Thousands of people marched in Berlin on Saturday to show support for protesters in Iran, where unrest was sparked by the death of Mahsa Amini while being detained by police. detention has entered its sixth week despite a deadly state crackdown.
The protests have posed one of the boldest challenges to Iran’s clerical leadership since the 1979 revolution, even if they don’t appear to be close to overthrowing a deployed government. its powerful security apparatus to quell the unrest.
Amini, a 22-year-old Iranian Kurdish man, died in ethical police custody after being detained for “inappropriate attire”. Protests broke out at her funeral on September 17 in the Kurdish town of Saqez before spreading across Iran. Human rights groups say more than 200 people have been killed in the crackdown.
Women played a prominent role, waving and burning veils. The deaths of several underage girls believed to be killed during the protests have added to the anger.
In Berlin, police estimated 80,000 people joined the march, with protesters waving Iranian flags and holding banners saying “Women, Life, Freedom”. Organizers say Iranians have come from the United States, Canada and across the European Union.
“From Zahedan to Tehran, I sacrificed my life for Iran,” human rights activist Fariba Balouch said after speaking at the meeting in Berlin, referring to Iranian cities caught up in the talks. protest. The crowd responded with “Death to Khamenei”, referring to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Anti-government activists said the march in Berlin was the largest ever demonstration against the Islamic Republic of Iran abroad.
“I feel very good, because we are here to (say) ‘We are with you, with all the people of Iran.’ I am the voice of Mahsa Amini,” one protester said her name was. is Maru.
Videos posted on social media – which Reuters could not independently verify – show protests continuing in Iran in several cities including Tehran, northeast Mashhad, northwest Mahabad, Dezful in the southwest and several universities around the country.
Videos showed protesters chanting in Tehran’s western Sadeghieh neighborhood and setting fires in the streets of the capital’s Lalehzar district. Another showed cars in Mashhad honking their horns and protesters chanting “Death to the dictator”.
Social media videos attributed to Dezful show young men chanting “Freedom, freedom, freedom” as they confront police in the oil-rich, predominantly Arab province of Khuzestan. on the Iraqi border.
Khamenei has warned that no one dares to think they can root out the Islamic Republic, accusing its enemies of inciting unrest. State television has reported the deaths of at least 26 members of the security forces.
Some of the most dangerous unrest has occurred in areas inhabited by ethnic minorities with longstanding grievances against the state. These include the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan and its provincial capital Zahedan.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards on Saturday accused a top Sunni cleric of incitement against the Islamic Republic and warned it could pay a heavy price after arresting officials including Khamenei responsible. for the dozens of people killed in Zahedan last month.
Amnesty International said security forces killed at least 66 people in a crackdown following Friday prayers in Zahedan, on September 30.
Molavi Abdolhamid, Zahedan’s top Sunni cleric, said in Friday’s sermon that officials including Khamenei, the head of the Shi’ite-dominated state, must be “responsible to God” for the killing. September 30th. He described the killing as a massacre, saying bullets had been shot in the head and chest.
A short statement on Sepah News, the official website of the Revolutionary Guards, said: “Mr Abdolhamid, encouraging and inciting youth against the sacred Islamic Republic of Iran may come at a cost. This is the final warning!”
State media said at the time of the September 30 riots that “unidentified armed individuals” opened fire on a police station, prompting security forces to return fire.
The Revolutionary Guards said five members of it and the Basij volunteer militia were killed in the September 30 riots. Authorities blamed a group of Baluchi fighters. Neither that group nor any other faction claimed a role.
The protests have been prompted by allegations of the rape of a local underage girl by a police officer. Officials said the incident was under investigation.
After protests flared up again in Zahedan on Friday, the Interior Ministry’s deputy minister in charge of security, Majid Mir Ahmadi, said calm had returned, the official news agency IRNA reported.
He said 150 “thugs have attacked public property and even Sunni shops”.
Human rights groups say the government has long discriminated against ethnic minorities including the Kurds.
The state denies the allegations of discrimination.
In Iran’s Kurdish region on Saturday, videos posted online showed shop owners going on strike in several cities in the northwestern Kurdish region, including Sanandaj, Saqez and Bukan.